British Forces News: Kandahar’s very own Mr Whippy
It is the last thing you would expect to find driving around a war zone and that's exactly why a former Para Sergeant has brought an ice cream van to Afghanistan.
Security manager Neil Peacock decided it was needed to boost troop morale and, after exhausting his savings, his dream has become an unlikely reality in Kandahar.
The 18-year-old van has come a long way – its last home were the streets and housing estates of Plymouth. Neil said:
"I had a crazy idea of bringing an ice cream van to Afghanistan just to boost the morale. Eight months later here it is."
The former Para joined forces with two colleagues to run the venture at Kandahar Airfield, aimed at troops of all nations; the ice creams have even been given out to Afghan children.
But putting smiles on faces has not been cheap. The business has, so far, cost £50,000 – much of that spent on flying the van to Afghanistan and adapting it to local conditions:
"Ice cream vans back in the UK stop working at 32 degrees. Over here we start at 42 degrees," said Neil.
While he admits that the business has cost him his savings and is running at a loss, he doesn't seem too bothered. He said:
"It's got it's own website and it just makes people smile and that's what I wanted to do – cheer people up. And I've succeeded in that. I might not have made myself rich but I certainly cheered people up."