Grandmother proves inspiration for current generation

Morelli family determined to come through most difficult period in over 100 years of business

Grandmother proves inspiration for current generation

Anastasia Morelli, the matriarch of the famous Italian ice cream family, pictured with her son Guido.

By Damian Mullan


By Damian Mullan


THE owners of the Morelli family business are looking to their grandmother Anastasia for inspiration as they continue to deal with the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.

Morellis, like hundreds of other businesses, are closed for the foreseeable future as people here follow government advice on social distancing and essential travel.

It means a huge hit to the hospitality industry on the north coast - particularly with Easter just days away. It traditionally marks the start of the season for many in the trade.

Unprecedented in terms of scale, it provides a huge challenge to all traders, but one that Arnaldo Morelli is hopeful that they can overcome together.

And he looks to the matriarch of the family for inspiration.

“Our Nonna (grandmother) Anastasia was a remarkable woman," he says.

“She arrived in Portstewart as a newlywed, speaking very little English a year or two prior to the outbreak of World War Two.

“When war eventually broke out, her husband, our grandfather Angelo, was picked up by the local police and brought to Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast.

“As an Italian citizen, he was classed as an enemy alien and was eventually sent to the Isle of Man where he spent the duration of the war as an internee with many other Italians from right across the United Kingdom.

“Despite the family being split, Nonna Anastasia, with the help of her good friend, Alba Anania, continued to run the shop and keep the business going right throughout the war years.

“The shop became a popular hang-out during this time, especially for the visiting American G.I.’s, and her perseverance under such difficult circumstances helped to lay the foundations for our business as we know it today.

“She was hardworking, steadfast and very entrepreneurial and, still to this day, her influence continues to be an inspiration for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren,” he added.

It's that same drive and determination which will be required in the coming weeks and months.

* To read the full article, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Chronicle.

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