A businesswoman who is set to open an ice cream parlour with her mother in Bognor Regis has been hailed a ‘rising star' of the industry.
Georgia Alston, 26, scooped the national ‘Guido Morelli Rising Star' award from the Ice Cream Alliance — the trade body for the UK's £1bn ice cream industry — just as she and mum Katy prepared to open their first parlour in the town, creating seven new jobs.
The Ice Cream Alliance said Katy started Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans and Tricycles 17 years ago and Georgia joined ten years later, initially helping out in the summer holidays at the end of her first year at university, after her mum had broken her leg.
Georgia, who said she 'fell in love' with the business, wrote a 24-page business plan explaining how she felt the firm could be grown and decided to leave university to join her mother in running the firm.
An Ice Cream Alliance spokesman said: "She (Georgia) said the business had since grown from one ice cream van to two vans and a retro tricycle, which they now took to 250 weddings each year across southern England, along with parties and corporate events - including parties held by celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Keith Richards.
"Now, after years of preparation and research, she said she and her mother were planning to open their first ice cream parlour in Waterloo Square, just off the seafront, where they would also make their own ice cream for the first time."
Georgia said they are hoping to open the new parlour 'by April'.
She added: "The parlour will probably employ another six or seven people. It will be very transparent. You will be able to see the amazing product being made.
"We want to deliver the same high-end product and level of service as we do with the vans and the tricycle.
"We have been researching it for a number of years and are actually off to Italy next week to start really getting into it."
Chief executive officer of The Ice Cream Alliance, Zelica Carr, said Georgia was the first woman to win the Rising Star award, which had been created three years ago in memory of a past president of the ICA, Guido Morelli.
"It's a great achievement for her to win this honour and it's quite clear that she is, indeed, a rising star of the industry who is set to go far," she said.
The Ice Cream Alliance said Georgia had also gone back to university to study for a degree in business management at the University of Chichester.