PICKLES, the dog who found the World Cup in a South Norwood bush in 1966, has had his famous discovery marked with a festival.
Picklesfest, brainchild of the South Norwood Tourist Board, was opened with a special reconstruction, 47 years to the day of the discovery (March 20).
Dave Corbett, the cunning canine's owner, was guest of honour at the event and led a re-enactment featuring a motorised papier-mâché model of his former best friend.
The 73-year-old was visibly emotional as he recounted the famous tale of stumbling upon the Jules Rimet Trophy in front of a sizeable audience on Beulah Hill.
He said: "By finding the trophy, that dog made me famous and gave me all these opportunities.
"Although at first I thought he was a prat when the police hauled me in for questioning."
Dave, who now lives in Lingfield, watched as the crowd were given a history lesson by "world-leading Picklesologist" Richard Jones. A poem named A Jar For Pickles was dedicated to "South Norwood's finest son" by Picklesfest's resident poet Tim Wells.
Dave said he originally thought the discovery was a bomb, rather than football's greatest prize.
"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?'"
The press attention Dave received after his faithful friend made front page news led to offers at home and abroad.
"It was ridiculous. If dogs could travel abroad at that time, we could have gone anywhere," he said. "We went on Blue Peter, he had the same agent as Spike Milligan and he was even named 'best dog' in Italy."
Although Dave is not quite as in demand as he once was, he can predict exactly when his phone line will be jammed.
He said: "Every four years, before the tournament, I get non-stop calls from television people and journalists."
Dave confirmed, to end the mystery once and for all, that Pickles's death was, as reported, the result of accidental hanging while chasing a cat up a tree.
Picklesfest continues with a series of talks and a musical feast called "Jam and Pickles" to conclude.