10 ice cream trucks lead funeral procession honoring longtime scooper, dispenser of smiles

LONDON — Hassan Dervish will be missed, and southeastern Londoners won’t soon forget the longtime ice cream man after the sendoff his passing brought to the streets of New Cross on Friday morning.

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Savash Turkel told The Washington Post that the close-knit ice cream truck community honored his brother in the sweetest way possible.

“The first (truck) came, and then there was another, and then there was another. All of a sudden, there were probably 10 ice cream trucks that followed him all the way to the cemetery. There were so many ice cream trucks for my brother,” Turkel, 57, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, an emotional video of the tribute posted to Twitter amassed more than 10 million views by Sunday.

“Just witnessed an ice cream man’s funeral, and all the ice cream vans came and followed in solidarity,” Louisa Davies, the woman who posted the viral video, tweeted. “I AM SOBBING.”

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Social media users quickly noted, however, that U.K. ice cream vendors have long honored their fallen in this fashion. Indeed, the BBC confirmed that 10 trucks gathered Feb.10 to celebrate the life of Italian-born ice cream man Pasquale Marucci of Hampshire, England, and that a similar funeral procession rolled through the streets of Wimborne Minster, England, in July, memorializing John Lennie.

Turkel told the Post that his brother emigrated to the U.K. from Cyprus in his early 20s, had always loved ice cream and longed to spend his days dispensing smiles and treats. Dubbed the “king of ice cream” by loved ones, Dervish lived his dream for more than four decades before succumbing to stage four cancer at the age of 62 on Nov. 12.

“(Dervish) was passionate about the work he was doing. He was always helping out all his friends. He helped them all out. That’s why so many people loved him. My brother was a really honest and hard-working person,” Turkel told the newspaper.

Ismail Mehmet, who said he was at Dervish’s funeral, captured a video of the ice cream truck convoy as it pulled into the cemetery.

“I’m amazed how much of an impact it has had to the area,” Mehmet wrote.