May 30, 2024

Bolton: Ice cream man’s farewell after 25 years, health scare

Derek Essington, 78, was better known as Derek “Kandyman” to those who knew him in the borough and other parts of Manchester, and even Liverpool.

He says he did not want to, but had to take the doctor’s advice and retire, after being diagnosed with bladder cancer this time last year, as well as suffering from sciatica.

Derek is now in remission and has since rung the bell at The Christie hospital to mark the end of his treatment, but still needs to have regular check-ups.


The Bolton News: Derek with Billy Byrne from DIY SOSDerek with Billy Byrne from DIY SOS (Image: Public)

Derek said: “I have had an operation on the tumour, and they have removed it, and I am in remission thankfully and still under hospital treatment.

“So, I should be taking it a lot easier.

“I didn’t want to, but I have to take the doctor’s advice.

“I expected to go on forever.

“I tried my hardest, but I had to make the decision.”

Prior to his cancer battle Derek says he was a “fit man” and had no health issues.

Now Derek says he still recovering from the impact of undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The Bolton News: He said: “The chemotherapy has done damage to my heart valves, which has left me with a heart condition.

“The radiotherapy floored me, which was worse than the chemotherapy.

“It’s the aftereffects of treatment, and it has been a lot.”

When he was diagnosed, one of the things he wanted to feel content with was that his son Graham, who has down syndrome, was taken care of, in case he was to lose his life to cancer.

He added: “I had to put things in place in case something happened to me.

“He is only up the road from us but has been very difficult for me and my wife Marilyn.

“It seems very quiet that he is not here.

“He is in a good place and comes to visit.

“We made his room into a little apartment.”

The Bolton News: Derek ringing the bellDerek ringing the bell (Image: Public)Despite his health scare, Derek continued to work for as long as he could, but he had no choice but to say goodbye to customers he saw grow up.

He says he has seen some customers from when they were in primary school and then going on to be parents themselves.

He said: “I wasn’t out as often as I should have been, but customers were very understanding.

“I made so many friends and loved the people the most.

“It was like a big family.

The Bolton News: “Every day was something different.

“It’s just been an amazing experience.”

Derek was also booked for huge events, including festivals, birthday parties, and worked with a lot of schools including Ladywood School, and Masefield Primary School.

Little Lever and Darcy Lever councillor Andrea Taylor-Burke set a GoFundMe page ( up for him to say thank you to him.

He said: “I was totally surprised, and it took my breath away.

“I just can’t believe it, and it’s very humbling.”

Derek is still upset about having to sell his van, which he has had for five years, but he is now keen to settle into retirement so he can spend more time with his wife and family.

He said: “I am still madly in love with my wife, so we can spend a lot more time together, and I am hoping to get away with her.

“She’s my rock and everything to me.”

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.

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