A POPULAR ice cream man is “taking a break” after years of injuries.

John Peters, who has been an ice cream vendor in Rochford for a decade, injured his knees while working on the London Underground.

And his injuries, as he puts it, “have caught up with him.”

Mr Peters, who has also suffered spinal injuries after a fall, told the Echo he never wanted to work behind a desk.

The 52-year-old, who regularly allows children, with their parents, to sell ice creams on their birthdays, said: “I wanted to get straight back out there.

“I knew I couldn’t work on the Underground anymore and I knew no one else would employ me.

“My injuries to my knees, and my spine have really caught up with me now.

“My wife’s got breast cancer. We get the results of her operation on Friday.

“It’s all the bending down. It’s not just about selling ice creams, you need to maintain the vehicle.

“I love what I do but I don’t know whether I can come back. I tried going back into the van for one day last week but I couldn’t do anything. Normally I work most of the year in the van.”

John, whose Facebook page, ‘Peter’s Ices’, has over 1,000 followers, added: “Everyone’s been wishing me well. It’s really nice.

“I’d saved 26 lives whilst working on the Underground after 15 years of ambulance training. I’ve seen a lot. A young girl died in my arms.

“It does affect you. I’m not afraid of getting stuck in.

“I just rely on myself. The other lady who sold ice creams in Rochford has sadly passed away. We used to work together.

“The other vendor in Hullbridge has retired now. I’ve bought his van off him and told residents someone will fill in for him.

“Groups of people follow me to events and around and about. Families often post pictures of them enjoying the ice cream.”

“On their birthdays, I allow children with their parents to come into the van and become a vendor.”