Norwich ice cream man produces gesture to melt the hearts

Gary Butcher, of Norwich Market's Ice Cream Parlour.

Gary Butcher, of Norwich Market's Ice Cream Parlour. - Credit: Submitted

In sunny weather it is normally the job of the ice cream man to help people cool down.

However, recently, one decided to cool the body and warm the spirits, with a heart-melting gesture.

On a sweltering July day, Gary Butcher, who runs the Ice Cream Parlour on Norwich Market, decided to help homeless people in Norwich cope with the heat, by offering free ice creams and water for an hour.

The 53-year-old, who is in his fourth year running the stall, says he was just doing his bit to help people less fortunate.

He said: 'I'm very passionate about helping the homeless - if I see somebody sleeping rough I'll often buy them cup of tea, so this was my way of doing something else.

'It doesn't cost me a great deal to do and the everybody was very grateful for it.'

Mr Butcher was inspired to make the gesture after growing exasperated with attitudes towards rough sleepers among some people.

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He added: 'I've been appalled by the way some people act towards homeless people, when really all of us could be just a second away from sleeping on the streets.

'You never know when you could end up a victim of circumstances - it could happen to anybody.'

Mr Butcher hopes his gesture will make people think more about the plight of those without a home.

'I don't think people think enough about what it must be like to have to sleep on the streets,' he said.

'I do not think I could sleep rough - it must be especially difficult in the winter.'

While Mr Butcher's stall does not open in the winter, he is pleased he can do his part in the summer months.

'I worry particularly about the dogs,' he said. 'I'm a big dog person, which is why I also gave away water.'

The stall owner did not rule out further giveaways in future, saying people just need to 'look out for the sign'.

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