Monday 18 June 2012


Pigeons have got a bad rep! 'rats of the air', vermin, feral nuisances? Nah.
Did you know that pigeons served in both great wars? Including several being buried with full military honours? Seriously. The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 to honour the work of animals in war recognised for their outstanding acts of bravery and devotion to duty. The Dickin medal is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949, to eighteen dogs, three horses, a cat and thirty two pigeons no less, to acknowledge their actions during WWII.

Introducing the new Connoisseur mascot... MARY.

Who's Mary? A nod and a tribute to the famous war hero Mary of Exeter. Mary of Exeter was a carrier pigeon who flew many military missions with the National Pigeon Service during World War II, transporting important messages across the English Channel back to her loft in Exeter, England. We're not even taking the piss. She was awarded the Dickin Medal in November 1945 for showing endurance on war service despite being injured on three occasions and emerging uninjured when her loft was bombed.
Mary of Exeter was owned by Charlie Brewer, a cobbler from Exeter. She served with the National Pigeon Service between 1940 and 1945 carrying top secret messages. Mary made four trips from France to England. She died in 1950 and is buried in Ilford Animal Cemetery.

Why a pigeon? "You'll find me in the city, you'll find me in the countryside. I'm a high flyer yet I'm also grounded. Not everyone likes me, fine - but I am beautiful. I get about, you can't avoid me. I'm a typical Northern stereotype but I'm actually found all over the world. It's not a race for me, I prefer taking my time. Yes, I'm quite common and there are lots of us, but I like to stay away from the numbers. At times I tend to lead where others follow. I can be a nuisance, I can be a pest but I'm also very friendly and loyal. I do what I like...and I like what I do..."

From the off we always wanted an animal mascot, it had to be something simple and easy, something which reflected our brand and resonated within. We'd longed to introduce something like this into our clobber, many had already chosen our feathered or furry friends before us. The Lacoste style crocodile is exactly the style we wanted to emulate and send Connoisseur vibes out on our future garms : from hats, t-shirts and knitwear to polo shirts and pin badges. We aren't French, we aren't exotic, the humble pigeon is seen around here every single day, it's perfect for us. Meet our new best friend, you'll soon be seeing quite a bit of her... Mary makes her bow as a limited edition pin badge, available very soon. YHN

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