Dedication and a sunny Sicilian smile has seen Toto (Salvatore) Porcello give 40 years to the people of Carlisle.

A special nomination of appreciation has come from Richard Shannan, of Casa Romana, who described Mr Porcello as “generous to a fault” with a “larger than life persona”.

On Saturday 25 Casa Romana will be welcoming wellwishers into the restaurant to celebrate the 65-year-old’s retirement giving everyone a chance to show him how important he is.

After putting his name forward Richard said: “Toto is a local legend in Carlisle and for more than 40 years.”

He started as the head waiter at Benvenuto’s then Franco’s, Valentino’s, Benvenuto’s again and for the past 27 years he has been welcoming guests at Casa Romana on Warwick Road.

Mr Shannan continued: “He cuts a remarkable figure with his cheery smile, sunny Sicilian personality and larger than life persona.

“What he lacks in height, he more than makes up for in joie de vivre. We have second and third generations of the same families coming in now and he still remembers everyone’s names.

“To simply put yourself out there day in and day out as a front man at some of Carlisle’s busiest and best known Italian eateries takes quite a lot of doing, and while you can’t possibly please all of the people all of the time, he has always given it a good go.

“He is generous to a fault and always gives or donates to lesser, unfortunate people he may see passing or in town, it’s his nature. We should all be a bit more like that. We’re expecting a bumper crowd of well wishers popping in to say their goodbyes has he has been a big part of so many important personal occasions; weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, deaths and local celebrations, he’s seen and been involved in them all

The nomination will come as a surprise to Toto won’t be expecting much, it’s simply not in his giving Sicilian nature.

While he is getting a bit whimsical about his upcoming retirement, he simply doesn’t realize how important a role he has played in making so many memories for the Carlisle folk of the last 40 years. We really have been lucky to have him and people will be talking about him for years to come.”