Belfast Telegraph

Meals on wheels company sold by Londonderry founder


By Margaret Canning

A company that delivers frozen meals on wheels to the homes of the elderly around Northern Ireland has been sold by its Co Londonderry founder.

Helen Courtney from Coleraine set up Iceage Delivery in 2001 as a franchise of Wiltshire Farm Foods (WFF), a UK market leader in the delivery of ready meals.

She has now sold the business to father and son team Eddie and Craig Johnston.

Celebrities who have endorsed Wiltshire Farm Foods include Fern Britton and the late Ronnie Corbett.

Eddie Johnston is a well-known figure in hospitality as a KFC, Wagamama and Pizza Hut franchisee, and the managing director of Spa Nursing Homes.

It's understood the pair intend to expand the operations of Iceage Delivery.

Ms Courtney said: "We have been privileged to have been part of the growth and success of Wiltshire Farm Foods over the last 15 years here in Northern Ireland."

Craig Johnston said: "We will build on the strong base already established in Coleraine and expand the WFF offering throughout Northern Ireland.

"We aim to help older people to retain their independence with the quality of the products and services offered by WFF".

Ms Courtney praised the team at business advisory firm Smith Cooper, which introduced the parties.

She said: "Their knowledge of the market, access to buyers and resourcefulness was invaluable in finding the right successors."John Farnsworth, head of Smith Cooper corporate finance, said: "We are delighted to have assisted in securing an exit for Helen, who has built the largest delivery firm of its type in Northern Ireland, by introducing two excellent businessmen who intend to build on its success."

WFF is part of apetito UK, which makes and supplies meals to care homes, local authorities and hospitals and, through WFF, to householders.

The year Iceage Delivery was set up by Helen Courtney

Belfast Telegraph