Channel: Croydon Advertiser Latest Stories Feed
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 5354

The story of Croydon's own World Cup hero


THE country looks back to the summer of 1966 fondly.

Television was better, kids could play in the street and people could leave their front doors open.

Oh, and England won the World Cup.

But what might have happened without the intervention of a dog from South Norwood named Pickles?

Pickles, a black and white Collie, stumbled upon the Jules Rimet trophy in a bush on Beulah Hill while out for a walk with his owner, David Corbett.

The country had been in uproar after the trophy was stolen from a cabinet at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster on March 20, 1966, ahead of the summer's tournament.

The Football Association, embarrassed by the situation, initially tried to cover up the cup's theft and was sent a ransom note by a man calling himself "Jackson".

By now, the press and general public knew everything.

A meeting was arranged with Jackson, but the operation was bungled and the man was arrested, refusing to reveal the whereabouts of the trophy.

To the relief of a nation, they only had to wait two more days before Mr Corbett popped across the road to make a telephone call with Pickles.

The dog's attention was caught by a suspicious tightly-wrapped white package on the ground, which turned out to contain the precious gold trophy.

Mr Corbett took it home and announced to his wife that Pickles had found the World Cup before taking it to Gipsy Hill police station.

Of course, Mr Corbett's innocent discovery immediately made him the prime suspect.

He was interrogated for hours at the police station, leaving him to wonder whether his discovery was even worth it.

Once released, Mr Corbett walked right into a media storm, with the discovery making front page news around the world.

In Britain, Pickles was a hero, knocking Harold Wilson and the impending general election off the front pages.

The cunning canine achieved celebrity status, being booked to appear on numerous TV shows including Magpie and Blue Peter.

He even won the coveted Dog Of The Year title and appeared in a film, The Spy With The Cold Nose, with Eric Sykes.

The night the World Cup was won, Mr Corbett and Pickles went to the party, where the dog was passed around by the England players.

Pickles' celebrity status was to be short-lived, however, as, in a tragic twist, he was found hanging from a tree in 1967.

The death was said to be a horrible accident after chasing a cat up a tree, but debate rages as to the validity of that explanation.

Nonetheless, Pickles' legend has grown and next week he is being honoured with a festival in his name by the South Norwood Tourist Board.

Picklesfest will feature a live re-enactment of the discovery, with a fully motorised papier-mache version of Pickles finding the Jules Rimet trophy.

The organisers have announced a campaign to get the trophy back to Beulah Hill for Picklesfest IV in 2016, the 50th anniversary of the momentous occasion.

The story of Croydon's own World Cup hero

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 5354

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images