DTI001 20_12_17 

Bengalese Finches
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John Scott 1921-2012 – Memories and tributes

 John answering questions on the Canary Council stand at the National in 2003

IT WAS with deep sadness and regret to learn of the passing of John Scott, chairman of the Lizard Canary Association (LCA).

John was one of the founder members of the LCA when it was formed in 1945, however his early association with lizard canaries goes back much further. In partnership with his father they took up lizards in 1935, and John’s father maintained the stud throughout the Second World War, while John was called up to serve in the Army.

At the end of hostilities it became evident that numbers of purebred lizards had fallen dramatically. A census by Cage & Aviary Birds was conducted, which found that only approximately 40 breeding pairs remained in existence. While probably inaccurate, the census proved a catalyst for action, the LCA was formed and one of its first actions was a co-ordinated breeding programme, with breeders being asked to supply stock only to other members of the Association.

With the resurgence of numbers the directive was later withdrawn. The lizard canary had been saved from extinction, membership of the Association continued to increase, and the breed returned to the show bench in even greater numbers.

John was elected chairman in the late 1970s and it is no surprise that due to his enthusiasm, hard work and passion for the lizard canary the breed flourished as never before. This culminated in the very first “All-Lizard” show held at Melton Mowbray in October 1981. It was quite simply the greatest show of lizards that has ever been held in this country, with an entry of nearly 400 birds; a figure that I doubt will ever be equalled or surpassed in my lifetime. As befitting such a great event in the history of the LCA, the club was able to honour two of the greatest post-war figures in the lizard world, G.T. Dodwell and John Scott, by asking them to judge at such an assembly of quality lizard canaries.

John was also a breeder, judge and exhibitor of the highest order, with many wins at all the major UK shows to his name.

In his knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to the lizard canary and the Association he stands alone. An irretrievable loss to the lizard world.

John Martin, LCA chairman.




THE Scottish Lizard Canary Association (SLCA) sends its deepest sympathy to the family of John Scott.

John was a club member and great friend to the club, showing and judging in Scotland many times. He was always friendly and willing to give advice. Although many of our present members will never have met John, all of them will know him as one of the most famous men in lizard canaries. I feel very privileged to have known a wonderful man and a great fancier.

Sandy Innes, SLCA secretary, Grangemouth.




IT WAS with deep regret that the Old Varieties Canary Association (OVCA) learned of the death of John Scott on September 16, aged 91. John was a dedicated breeder and exhibitor of the old breeds of canary.

Lizards were his first love, but when the OVCA was formed in 1970 he soon became a firm “old variety” breeder; John kept, bred and exhibited frills long before 1970. John’s stud of lizard canaries has been maintained since 1937 when he and his father exhibited their birds at shows all over the UK. The birds were sent by rail to many major exhibitions and would return with many special prizes. This was a remarkable feat when John told me that his father never saw any other lizard canaries except his own, something modern fanciers could never do.

His passion for the old breeds was so great that he wrote, possibly, hundreds of articles on them for Cage & Aviary Birds, along with Terry Dodwell who was a great friend of John; the two of them helped push both the lizard and the old varieties in the fancy press. John was a keen exhibitor and would show his birds at most major exhibitions. The National Exhibition was a favourite of his and his name can be seen at Nationals from the 1950s/60s.

John was a long serving committee member of the OVCA and was a great help to the Association. 1984 was a great year for John when his unflighted Parisian frill hen won best canary at the National, which was held at NEC, Birmingham; never before or since has a frilled canary won this award. At the time John was Cage & Aviary Birds canary expert on the readers’ query page. He also wrote the show report at the National Exhibition on the best canary in show, something he handed over to me. I well remember leaving John’s house on cold winter nights, when at the front door John informed me that he had told Brian Byles, the then editor, that he was “getting too old” to do the report, but I would do the report at the next and future Nationals. I told John that I could not do this, John replied “of course you can”, such was John’s way of pushing fanciers forward.

I did however write many reports at the Nationals for both Brian Byles and Ron Oxley; they were great times. John has been my mentor and I would not have done so many things in the bird world if it was not for John Scott, so many thanks John.

It has been a privilege to know John and be one of his many friends, sadly the Association and the world will be a poorer place since his passing. Men of John’s kind come along too infrequently, but because of his life the fancy is a much better place.

He will be sadly missed. The Association sends its deepest sympathy to his ever-supportive widow Jennifer and his four sons, grandchildren and family.

Kevin McCallum, OVCA general secretary.




I WAS saddened to hear the news that John Scott had passed away; he was a true gentleman and a canary man through and through. He will be best remembered for breeding and showing lizard canaries, but John also kept Parisian frills.

My own personal memory of John will be seeing him sitting at the Canary Council stand at the National Cage & Aviary Birds Exhibition when it was held at the NEC. He would be sat there talking to other great canary men, such as the late Gerry Wolfendale, and they would be happy to give anyone advice and answer any questions.

John was also one of the founder members of the Canary Council and was a great promoter of all canaries. He will be sadly missed by all his friends in the lizard canary fancy and the canary fancy as a whole.

I was very honoured when John agreed to submit a chapter for my book on lizard canaries, and he sent copies to friends in Australia.

My thoughts and those of the Canary Council are with his widow Jennifer and his family.

David Allen, LCA member and Canary Council publicity officer.




I, AND I'm sure many lizard fanciers, were very sad to hear of the death of John Scott. I first met John at the National in the late 1960s when it was held at Alexandra Palace. Within minutes of arriving at the lizard section, John came and introduced himself and was happy to help me with the many questions I threw at him regarding lizards.

This particular day I had my wallet stolen on the morning of the show. I was lucky to have enough change in my pocket to get me in the show. Although John had only just met me for the first time, he offered me money to see me through the day.

When traveling down to Ipswich for my first LCA committee meeting I felt very nervous, but it was John who soon put me at ease. As chairman of the LCA he had a friendly and polite way of keeping meetings in order, whatever was on the agenda. It was a very hard act to follow when he was made president and I was appointed chairman.

Although he lived in Tyne & Wear he always supported the East Anglian All Lizard, bringing a car load of lizards for other fanciers from the North East as well as his own. His lizards were well known for their broad spangle and loads of breast work. I think he was the breeder of the best gold hen that has ever been bred, but unfortunately when entered for the National, John was held up on the A1 due to an accident so didn't arrive in time for his birds to be judged. His birds were still staged and this gold hen was the talking point all weekend and because of it's wonderful breast work, it was known as the thrush.

There have been some great lizard fanciers over the years, but John Scott beats them all.

Stan Bolton, Cambs.  




THE North of England Gloster Club was saddened to hear of the passing of John Scott. John has been our president since the formation of the club in 1975. He was instrumental in its formation and took an active role in the meetings during a transitional period in the mid 1980s.

John was greatly admired by all who came in contact with him and in the Tyneside area he was a well-respected mentor to many. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Jennifer and the family.

Norman Wallace, North of England Gloster Club chairman. 

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