Aldbourne Heritage Centre
Exploring the Village Story

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Rover the Fundraising Dog

Rover was a brown and white spaniel owned by Harry Liddiard who lived in the corn Stores, the building which later became Raffles Restaurant and is now Nos 1 & la The Green, adjacent to The Crown. Rover was a loveable character and Harry used this to the great benefit of the community. Between 1924 and 1933, Rover was frequently to be found at village events, especially at the Carnival, with a collection box strapped to his back, collecting donations Savernake Hospital (well before the days of the National Health service). Apparently Rover would bark a ‘thank you’ in response to a donation! He is credited with raising over £70, equivalent to about £4000 at today’s values.
Consequently, when he died in 1933 he was sadly missed. A seat with the inscription
“From the parishioners of & Baydon in memory of Rover a faithful worker for Savernake Hospital” was erected at the hospital. Also then, or possibly a bit later a small but beautiful metal memorial plaque was placed by the pond in Aldbourne. To this day it can still be found, somewhat tucked away, beneath the Parish Notice Board opposite The Crown, Although for many years painted in plain black, as recently as 2013 the plaque was given a ‘makeover’ in gold paint, apparently by an unknown visitor to The Crown who no doubt thought Rover deserved more recognition.
But the story doesn’t end there. After Rover’s death, a model of him complete with collecting box was made and tethered to the milestone outside the (then) police station in South Street. At the outbreak of WWII it was removed, apparently for ‘security’ reasons! Having been kept safely through the war years, it was resurrected by a member of the Liddiard family in 1954 and placed near the bus shelter at the pond but after only a few months it disappeared again! Following an appeal in the Aldbourne Parish News in February 1972, it was found stored in a barn owned by ‘Mac’ McKeon (Parish News April 1972). At that time it was proposed that Rover should be placed in the Memorial Hall to raise funds for the Hall and possibly to be brought out at Carnival time as in days gone by, but there the paper trail fades.
Rover the collecting dog once lived in Aldbourne and was much loved and remembered by all.