Sunday 24 March 2013

South Norwood's Finest Son

Leafing through my local freesheet, I was mortified to see that I'd missed Picklefest. The brainchild of the South Norwood Tourist Board (est. 2012), this event celebrates the day in 1966 when Pickles, a small black-and-white dog, found the missing football World Cup - the Jules Rimet trophy - in a bush in South Norwood. Pickles's owner, Dave Corbett, now 73, was guest of honour at Picklefest, and took part in a re-enactment, featuring a motorised papier-mache model (pictured) of the doughty collie.
A 'visibly emotional' Dave watched as 'world-leading Pickleologist' Richard Jones gave a historical account of the Great Finding, and Picklefest's 'resident poet' read a new poem, A Jar For Pickles, dedicated to 'South Norwood's finest son'.
Dave recalled how he originally thought what Pickles had found was a bomb: 'There was all that stuff about the IRA at the time, so I was a bit silly to open the package. I took it home to my wife and told her it was the World Cup. She said, "Dave, of course it's not the World Cup". Even when I took it to Gipsy Hill Police Station, I plonked it down in front of the desk sergeant and he said, "It doesn't look very World Cuppy, does it?"'
But the World Cup it was, and overnight fame followed for Dave and Pickles. 'It was ridiculous. If dogs could travel abroad at that time, we could have gone anywhere. We went on Blue Peter, he had the same agent as Spike Milligan, and he was even named Best Dog in Italy.'

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