A NEW ice cream created by a family to help cancer patients has been given the royal seal of approval.

The MacKellars successfully bid on an auction prize put forward by David Equi, managing director of the iconic business that has been creating ice cream in Scotland for over 100 years.

The family were VIP guests at a ‘Willie Wonka’ style tour of the firm’s new state-of-the-art Rutherglen headquarters – and discovered that their delightful dessert was to be given a very special debut.

Glasgow Times: HRH speaks to the family who created the new ice cream.HRH speaks to the family who created the new ice cream. (Image: Colin Mearns)

HRH Princess Anne, who was visiting the factory to officially open it after an original trip in December 2022 had to be cancelled because of snow, became the first person to sample the new Salted Caramel Cookie Dough flavour – and quickly gave it the thumbs up.

Glasgow Times: David Equi, centre, MD of Equi's Ice Cream, is pictured with the Mackellar family, dad Jordan, left, mum Laura and their daughters Annie, 13, and Emily, nine.David Equi, centre, MD of Equi's Ice Cream, is pictured with the Mackellar family, dad Jordan, left, mum Laura and their daughters Annie, 13, and Emily, nine. (Image: Colin Mearns)

Mr Equi added: “The Princess Royal absolutely loved the flavour. It is extra special to all of us because of the cause behind it.

“Maggie’s does such amazing work helping cancer patients, not only in Glasgow, but right across the central belt and beyond, so we were delighted to get involved in this initiative.

“It is a charity which will always be close to my heart after my father passed away from cancer in 1985, at 59, and my family and I saw first-hand the amazing work they do. It was truly an honour to meet The Princess Royal today as well - we’ve been proud to share our ice cream with generations of our customers over the years and it was a privilege to let HRH The Princess Royal taste it.”

Glasgow Times: The ice cream proved a hit with Princess Anne.The ice cream proved a hit with Princess Anne. (Image: Colin Mearns)

The unique auction prize was put up as part of the recent Drive to Maggie’s event.

The Hamilton-based family, mum and dad Laura and Jordan, Annie, 13, and Emily, nine, bid for the right to create the ‘Royal Ice Cream’ for the Princess Royal, and as well as a special behind the scenes tour of the Equi’s plant, they also get a year’s supply of their delicious creation to enjoy and share among friends.

Laura said: “It was brilliant for the girls to see what goes on to create their own ice cream. It was also for a cause that is very close to our hearts as I lost my mum Ann at just 49 to breast cancer in 2007.

"Almost every family these days is touched by the illness in some way, so we were delighted to be able to support Maggie’s and the tremendous work they do through the auction.”

She added: “It was a lovely surprise to learn that Princess Anne was going to be here in person to try the ice cream and we were delighted to learn that she really liked it. “It was a fantastic gesture by Equi’s to put up the prize and we all had a day we will never forget.”

Jordan is CEO of his own software company, Probe Test Solutions Ltd, and Laura is CEO of Proclaim Care Ltd, a rehabilitations provider. Annie and Emily both attend Hamilton College and love going to dance classes, including ballet.

During the Royal visit, The Princess Royal was also presented with flowers by Cole Thomson, 11, and his mum Lisa, who are campaigning for medical cannabis to be available on prescription to help treat the youngster’s epilepsy.

Glasgow Times: Cole meets Princess Anne.Cole meets Princess Anne. (Image: Colin Mearns)

Cole previously suffered up to 20 seizures a day and his family have to fork out thousands of pounds every year to fund his treatment privately.

Lisa said: “He was so excited to be here and insisted on wearing his kilt for the occasion. It was lovely of the Equi family to ask us along, Cole has had the biggest smile on his face, it was a wonderful day.”

Glasgow Times: Alex Equi hands a cone to HRH.Alex Equi hands a cone to HRH. (Image: Colin Mearns)

Four generations of the Equi family have been producing ice cream since 1922 with their famous flavours like Scottish Tablet, Isle of Skye Sea Salt and Caramel and Alphonso Mango Sorbet sold in bulk all over the country.

They are long-established supporters of Maggie’s, which provides free cancer support and information in centres across the UK. Equi’s has now raised a total of £34,051 to support their work.

Last year the team not only celebrated their centenary but also moved from their original home in Hamilton, where they have been producing ice cream since 1922, to the new 10,000sq ft factory in Rutherglen.

Glasgow Times: HRH tours the new Equi's factory.HRH tours the new Equi's factory. (Image: Colin Mearns)

The new plant is key to the firm’s goal of maximising sustainability, with a bespoke water recycling system that saves upwards of 16 million litres of water per year.