A POPULAR ice cream parlour celebrated its 10th birthday this week, offering a complimentary scoop of ice cream to all customers.

Wheelbirks Parlour, near Stocksfield, opened its doors a decade ago with just five members of staff and a handful of ice cream flavours.

Now, Lucinda, parlour manager, and farmers Tom and Hugh Richardson employ more than 45 seasonal members of staff, having won awards for their sweet treats.

Lucinda, who took a two-year sabbatical from her job in the NHS to set up the business, said: “We are feeling really proud at the fact we have reached a decade.

“It has been a huge learning curve for a midwife and two farmers with no previous hospitality experience.

“But, there hasn’t ever been a day where I haven’t wanted to come to work, even in tougher times.

“We have simply learnt on the job, involving our staff and customers at every possible step of the journey.

She added: “We have been so blessed with the staff that have worked here over the years. They really do bring the place to life.”

The parlour, which plays host to children’s birthday parties, weddings and a biennial charity Nativity performance, offers something for the whole family to enjoy.

Lucinda said: “What makes us so unique is that we make and sell ice cream, using milk from our Jersey cows, on a working farm.

“And we are never scared of trying new things, like kick-golf in the orchard, for example.”

The parlour also boasts an impressive retail space, the Cowshed, made using reclaimed materials from a derelict sanatorium on the Wheelbirks Estate.

To thank customers for their continued support, Wheelbirks gave out out free ice creams and shared a video montage of the parlour throughout the years on social media.