AN ABERGAVENNY ice cream man has been named in the top three in the UK.

Chris Copner, of C.J.Copner Ice Cream Vans, came third in the Ice Cream Alliance’s Mobiler of the Year award for 2021.

Mr Copner, 33, said he was proud of the award, given how the lockdown had essential forced him to completely change up his business.


“We are Abergavenny-based, but travel all over the UK for corporate events,” he said.

“We lost all our bookings for the year when the lockdown hit. I decided we needed to offer something different.

“Because all the restaurants were closed, there was a gap in selling restaurant desserts.

One of CJ Copner Ice Creams treats. Picture: Chris Copner.

One of CJ Copner Ice Creams' treats. Picture: Chris Copner.

“It was quite risky. The way ice cream vans have always been is having the pictures on the side of the van and just going around. But we were buying products you wouldn’t normally buy from an ice cream van, and didn’t have pictures up on display of them. We have had to market it a lot online.

“But people seem to like it. It’s things you can’t get anywhere else.”

Mr Copner now has a collection of four classic and new ice cream vans - from a range of eras - having bought his first in 2009.

“I always wanted an ice cream van as a kid,” he said. “I got my first van, a 1976 transit, and it was all a bit rotten. But we did it up over the course of 12 months. That was in 2009.

CJ Copner Ice Creams Easter-themed treats. Picture: Chris Copner.

CJ Copner Ice Creams' Easter-themed treats. Picture: Chris Copner.

“I was working in the financial industry, but it’s now been around two or three years I’ve been full time.

“From the start of the lockdown last year, the whole year was cancelled and we didn’t know where we were going, but we ended up pushing forward and being voted in the top three for the UK and Ireland.”

Last month, Mr Copner donated 300 Crème Eggs to Velindre – which provides specialist treatment and care to cancer patients in Wales – in time for Easter.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the support we’ve had from our customers,” he said.