Ice cream man Guido Morelli 'will be sorely missed'
Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of Northern Ireland's best known ice cream-maker, Guido Morelli.
The popular 81-year-old north coast businessman, who was affectionately called "Papa Guido", died peacefully earlier this week surrounded by his family, following a short illness.
Fr Rory Sheehan paid tribute to the father-of-five during Requiem Mass, which was held at Saint Patrick's Church in Portrush yesterday afternoon.
His children, Morino, Romeo, Tanya, Arnaldo and Daniela, and grandchildren were present at the service. Among the mourners, who came from both sides of the community, was former Coleraine Mayor Norman Hillis.
He was laid to rest in Agherton Cemetery in Portstewart.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Maura Hickey, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, paid tribute to the contribution Mr Morelli and his family had made to the north coast, and said the businessman would be "sorely missed". "The name of Morelli is synonymous with the north coast," she added.
"Over the decades, Mr Morelli and his family have built one of the iconic brands, not only of the north coast, but of Northern Ireland as a whole.
"As mayor, I very much appreciate all that Mr Morelli has done for the area, and my thoughts, prayers and my sympathies are with his family at what must be a truly heartbreaking time for them."
Mr Morelli was very much at the helm of the famous ice cream family business.
"He worked tirelessly and came in to the office every day, taking charge of developing recipes," daughter Daniela said after he passed away.
The Morelli family first came to Northern Ireland in 1907, when Joseph Morelli opened a small cafe in Ballymena.
For decades, a visit to Morelli's has been a tradition for many families visiting Portrush or Portstewart, or staying there on holiday, and the ice-cream and cafe business attracted people from all across the province and farther afield.
The family-owned business now has ice-cream shops right across Northern Ireland, with their flagship store in Portstewart.
The company also supplies customers such as Spar, Tesco, Asda hotels and restaurants.