Mr Joe Paolozzi, 83

MR Joe Paolozzi, a member of Todmorden's famous ice cream making family and a skilled model-maker, died on Christmas Eve, aged 83.

Joe, of Todmorden, was born in Dewsbury on October 6, 1922, and went to school there, beginning work at the age of 14 in a local woollen mill, staying there for four years.

In 1939, when Joe was 17, the second world war had broken out and he hoped to join the Royal Navy but the powers-that-be directed him towards the army. However, as his father Benedict was interned on the Isle of Man due to his Italian nationality, Joe and his brother Emmanuel objected to serving in the forces while Mr Paolozzi senior was interned.

Their call-up was deferred until their father was reunited with the family early in 1942, when Joe and Emmanuel joined the Pioneer Corps, the start of four years’ extensive travel and adventure, some of the latter, it being war service, they could have well done without.

The brothers stayed together throughout their military service and after their military training in Scotland made their first trip aboard a luxury liner - although this by now had been converted into a troop ship - to North Africa.

After serving in Algiers for a few months they embarked on board ship again in July 1943, reaching Sicily by landing craft, one of the first steps on the Allies’ road to liberating Europe.

By early September 1943 they had reached the Italian mainland, wading ashore into the famous Salerno Beach head, surviving where many did not. They made their way through Italy with the army, seeing action at Monte Casino, one of the war’s most famous battles and only a few miles from Coll San Magna where their parents had been born and many relations still lived.

They returned to the UK in time to take part in the equally historic Normandy landings in 1944, serving the rest of their time in the army as it moved through France, Belgium and Germany.

On being demobbed in 1946 Joe returned to Dewsbury and the family moved to Todmorden in 1947, where his father had bought the ice cream business known as Neil’s and establised the Paolozzi ice cream name renowned to generations of local families.

Joe took a major part in the business until his father’s death and afterwards ran the business with the help of his brothers Emmanuel and Benny and his two sisters Rita and Brenda.

When he wasn’t working Joe loved to travel and visited many places all over the world, including China, South and North America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa to name but a few.

A skilled craftsman, he would take a large piece of wood and carve and create a fantastic scale model of a sailing ship, aircraft carrier or cruise liner. Many of these are now on display at the Black Bull, Rimington, near Clitheroe in Lancashire. He also enjoyed sports like snooker and cricket, spending many happy hours watching Todmorden CC play at Centre Vale.

In his youth Joe was a very good ballroom dancer and was a regular attendee at many dances, including those at Todmorden Town Hall.

In Joe’s eulogy, it was also said that with his death it was much to the disappointment of many people that the recipe for one of the finest ice creams ever tasted in Todmorden went with him.