A POPULAR ice cream man who ran a kiosk on the pier in the 70s and 80s, and was said to have been known for remembering people's orders, has died.

Giuseppe Pontis, who was also known to many as Tonibell, was a well-known figure in the community during the time.

Mr Pontis retired in 2016, aged 85, and died last month, aged 86.

Born in 1931 on the Italian island of Sardinia, in 1962 Mr Pontis and his wife Luiga moved to Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, where he picked watercress and cooked for monks living on the island, before moving to Cardiff two years later.

The couple had three children, Mimma, Silvanna and Andrea, and Mr Pontis bought his first ice cream van in 1972 while also running two kiosks in Penarth Pier and selling fish and chips in a Penarth club.

Kath Sakke said her father-in-law - known to family and friends as Joe - “absolutely loved selling ice-cream”.

“It was his life and passion. Joe was a proud man," she said.

“He was a family man and loved his family to be around him whilst loving his own space at the same time.

“He loved Wales and would tell him family ‘the Welsh are the best people’ and ‘we live in the best country’.

“He was a very religious, Catholic man who would pray every night - although he did have a terrible potty mouth.”

His son, Andrea Pontis said his father did so many different things and was well-known by lots of people.

"Everyone knew my father and my mother, they had two shops on the promenade in 1979. I have so many memories of my father as I was with him every day. It's hard to chose one in particular. A lot of memories I have are of every time he messed up!"

Many Penarthians say they remember Mr Pontis. One resident, Jacqueline Cooksey, said her and her friends used to go to the kiosk every Saturday for ice lollies in the mid-80s when she was around nine-years-old.

"We went to get our ice lollies after having a swim at Penarth baths," said Ms Cooksey.

"Every Saturday without fail. He knew myself and my friends and was a really friendly man.

"He always used to know what ice lollies we would each have, see us crossing over and put them on the counter ready."

Mr Pontis suffered a stroke after falling in his garden in spring 2017, and later had three small heart attacks and three bouts of pneumonia.

He pulled through each time, but caught pneumonia for a fourth time and died on Friday September 14.

His funeral was held at St Peter’s Church in Cardiff on Tuesday October 2, before he was buried at Thornhill Cemetery.

Ms Sakke called the service was “lovely”.

“The priest who led the service had lived in Rome and so did some of it in Italian,” she added.