A POPULAR Stonehouse ice cream man has scooped a hat-trick of UK awards for his delicious vanilla ice cream.

Dave Long's achievement in The National Ice Cream Competition is even more amazing because he only entered for the first time two years ago.

Now Dave has struck gold in the prestigious competition for the third year running making his soft serve ice cream the best in the UK.

Dave, who serves customers across the Gloucester and Stroud area from his Dave's Delicious Soft Ice Cream van, won the soft serve class in the contest, run by The Ice Cream Alliance - the trade body for the UK's £1bn ice cream industry.

Dave, who lives in Middleyard, near Stonehouse, put his success down to having a positive mental attitude.

"You have to be positive about everything you do in life and I believed I had a great chance of winning again because everyone tells me how great my ice cream is.

"I am so delighted when you look at the strength of the competition this is really a wonderful achievement."

Dave, 71, has no thoughts of retirement after 45 years in the business.

"I love my job and being out meeting such lovely people and being able to put a smile on their faces, he said.

“Laughter and ice cream are still one of the best medicines."

Further information on The Ice Cream Alliance can be obtained at www.ice-cream.org.