Press tribute sparks warm memories of Tony Valente

Tony Valente with one of his ice cream vans.
Tony Valente with one of his ice cream vans.

Our tribute to Kirkcaldy businessman Tony Valente, head of his family’s fish and chip and ice cream empire, sparked many fond memories for generations of families in and around the town – and far beyond.

Tony passed away recently in Cameron Hospital in his 90th year.

He had worked in the family business, opened in Kirkcaldy in 1921, since he was 14 years old, until he was forced to retire at the age of 86!

However he continued to oversee the goings on and to greet his many customers, some fourth generation family members.

When the story of his passing appeared on our Facebook page it reached 40,000 people, was shared 270 times and received 345 likes along with dozens of comments.

His fanclub, it would appear, stretches the world over, with people from as far away as Cyprus responding.

Here we share just some of the many comments on the man described by Press readers as “a true gent” and “a real local hero.”

Warren Hutt: “Tony made my childhood summers magic with the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.”

Jane Gibson: “I loved going out every week to get ice cream from him.”

Bruce Davies: “Many happy memories from when I was a wee boy – a lovely man.”

Leanne Paul: “Tony used to park across from St Andrews High School at lunch times and his brother Ernie used to come round in his van at night. Memories of my childhood.”

Michelle Scott: “An adorable man and a town icon.”

Heather Lyall: “He used to give my grandad’s dog a free ice cream every week!”

Barry Innes: “I remember as a kid when I stayed in Glebe Park he used to let me play the music. A very nice man.”

Pete Slessor: “A true gentleman.”

John Jackson: “I remember getting a cone from him every Saturday when I came to visit my gran many years ago.”

Scott Guyan: “A huge part of my growing up in Strathkinnes Road. He was always smiling and knew everyone’s names. He always used to give me one of his ham rolls.

Cathy Steel: ‘‘I remember him coming down Massereene Road in his van - he’d always say hi even years later when you went into the chip shop.’’

The many stories shared by former customers of Tony’s on our Facebook page have been warmly welcomed by the Valente family.

Marco Valente (38), Tony’s grandson, said: “We have all been very touched by the many tributes and stories that have been made and I would like to thank everyone for them.

“They have brought back a lot of good memories for us all.”