ONE half of the husband and wife duo behind York's own ice cream brand Yorvale, Lesley Buxton was born in 1961 in York and is the second eldest in family of six boys and two girls.

Leaving school at 16, Mrs Buxton went to Thomas Danby Catering College in Leeds for two years before starting a career in food retail management.

She then changed to retail management and a career with Mothercare.

Upon marrying husband Ian Buxton in 1983, Mrs Buxton moved to Fossfield Farm, a County Council small holding of 58 acres, in 1984 in a move which would ultimately change her career path.

After the birth of their children Sally and Jack, born in 1986 and 1988 respectively, the Buxtons started Yorvale in 1989.

By 1999 they were in a position to buy the farm, plus additional acres from the council and the business has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Twenty six years later and Yorvale ice cream is available nationwide via selected wholesalers and from independent retailers, visitor attractions and supermarkets throughout Yorkshire.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

"Furniture restoration; I love going to sale rooms, picking up a 'bargain' and then restoring it to its former glory. There is something very chilled out about restoration."

Greatest achievement?

"The first is being in a position to purchase our farm, which had previously been a dream, and building a successful business.

"The second is making ice cream for the queen when she came to Royal Ascot York."

What makes you most angry?

"Dishonesty. Also the lack of loyalty in the world; everything is disposable including good people. Blame culture also angers me."

Biggest mistake?

"Not sure I consider making a big mistake, lots of little ones along the way but I consider them all part of life's learning curve and not necessarily mistakes.

"However - I did purchase a container full of half coconut shells from India so we could fill them with coconut ice cream for the Asian market. When they arrived they were just broken pieces of coconut shells. I hadn't researched the importing market from India sufficiently enough, if I had I would have paid someone to check the cargo before it was loaded on the ship."

What do you need to make life complete?

"A better work life balance"

Why do you make a difference?

"I lead by example, and have a good working relationship with both staff and customers, understanding their needs. I happily listen to ideas put forward by my staff and treat them with the respect I expect them to treat others with, each and everyone matters within the business.

"I enjoy my work which transfers down the line so we have a great working environment, and happy staff. I appreciate my staff and accept when I am wrong."


"Live life to the full and remain true to yourself"