An Iconic British Brand
The Tonibell story actually began in 1937, when Italian born Toni Pignatelli founded his ice cream manufacturing business, Tonis. By the late 1950s, Toni was delivering ice cream around the streets of Basildon and in the 1960s, the company was rebranded as Tonibell using a combination of Toni and the Italian word Bellissima, reflecting his belief ice cream should be a fun & tasty experience!
By the 70s, the old blue colours had gone and Tonibell became a familiar sight with their distinctive bright pink vans, the Tonibell Cow and familiar chimes. The company continued to expand, becoming a household name and a truly iconic part of British culture throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. Operators were all given the cherished 'Tonibell Passport to Success' with the expectation that everyone worked to offer the same high standards and outstanding service that is still at the forefront of our business today.
The Tonibell Story
After our great pink makeover in, Tonibell truly became a household name and operated one of the biggest fleets of ice cream vans across Kent, London, Surrey and throughout the UK.
Tonibell is often remembered fondly as a truly family experience. Often as a treat for good behaviour, or simply waiting patiently for the magical pink van, children were rewarded with ice cream, and Tonibell gifts such as our pink & purple badges, playing cards and of course the famous mini ball, filled with soft ice cream which then became a toy to play football with your friends.
Mum was never forgotten with a range of collectible tea towels and her favourite Peach Melba ice cream which meant saving on the washing up as well!
Tonibell were famous for our branded lollies and fondly remembered by many. We regularly appeared in many of the Cult TV shows as The Sweeney, Minder and Grange Hill and films which can be seen today on UK Gold. Our chimes were often heard in the background of many shows back then and even recently on BBC1 EastEnders.
Over the years we have met many lovely people, especially the Tonibell ice cream men of yesteryear so please keep sending your e-mails and sharing the stories. We respect all of the lovely compliments and are proud to keep the tonibell legacy alive!
World Record Holders!
On October 16, 2018 in Crewe, Cheshire, UK, 84 Ice Cream Vans set a new world record for the world's largest parade of Ice Cream vans ever and Tonibell were thrilled to take part in this amazing feat. Ice Cream Men and Women travelled from all over the UK, Southern Ireland and Belgium to Wychwood Park to take part in the attempt. It took some very well planned logistics and careful organising to get everyone together on the same day for this rare attempt at the record.
Guinness World Records were in attendance to observe the attempt and judge whether it met their stringent rules and we are happy to say that Tonibell Ice Cream are now joint Guiness World Record Holders for the longest ice cream van parade!
Video - Copyright Whitby Morrison
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