A member who joined the Kennel Club at the end of the Second World War, Alan Pickett, 91, of Cranbrook in Kent, was this week invited to a special luncheon in his honour, hosted by the Club Committee at the Kennel Club’s recently-opened headquarters at 10 Clarges Street, London W1. It is thought that 70 years of continual membership is a record.
Alan’s father, Francis Norman ‘FN’ Pickett, was also a member, joining in 1924, a year before he was co-opted onto the Kennel Club General Committee. Also in 1924, his German-bred German Shepherd Dog, Ch Caro of Welham, won Best of Breed at Crufts at a time when the breed was officially classified as the ‘Alsatian Wolf Dog’. FN Pickett held very strong views about the correct type breeders should aim for and these views are well expressed in his work on the breed, The Book of the Alsatian Dog.
FN Pickett was also one of the driving forces behind the Kennel Club’s purchase of Crufts dog show from founder Charles Cruft’s widow in 1942, the acquisition of the Daytona Beach Trophy and his personal donation of The Open Door, one of the most admired paintings in the Kennel Club’s art collection, to the Club.
At the specially organised luncheon, Anne Bliss, Chairman of the Club Committee, presented Alan Pickett with a framed watercolour of the Kennel Club’s former Clarges Street headquarters, the site of which his father was instrumental in helping the Kennel Club acquire in 1956, just months before his death.
Of the watercolour, Alan said: “I shall cherish this picture for the rest of my days. It has been a great honour for me to be a member of the Kennel Club for 70 years and an honorary life member for at least 30 of those years. I much appreciate the kind hospitality shown to me and wish the Kennel Club all the success it deserves for the future.”
Alan then presented the Club with a trophy, the Von Stephanitz Cup, won by Ch Caro of Welham at the Alsatian League of Great Britain open show in 1924 and donated by Mrs H C Smith in honour of Max Von Stephanitz, the German expert who is credited as being the founder of the breed known today as the German Shepherd Dog.
Alan said: “I take great pride in presenting this cup to the Club. My father persuaded his friend Sir Malcolm Campbell to leave his Daytona Beach Trophy to the Kennel Club and I am hopeful that the two trophies will be displayed together.”
Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Kennel Club is very privileged to have had the generous support of the Pickett family over such a long period of time, beginning with Alan’s father becoming a member in 1924. To be able to celebrate such a long association with Alan today is very special. We value the link with our past and wish Alan all the very best for the future and many more happy years as a member.”