BY Ian Dunn | November 4 | comments icon 2 COMMENTS     print icon print

5-CARDINAL-&-JIMMY-SAVILLE

Cardinal, charity pay tribute to the late entertainer Jimmy Savile

Sir Jimmy Savile passed away last Saturday.

The popular Catholic DJ, entertainer and philanthropist passed away at his home in Leeds just two days before his 85th birthday. His funeral was at St Anne’s Catholic Cathedral in Leeds on Wednesday.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic clergyman, spoke of his friendship with the entertainer while Tom Allen, financial trustee of Across, the charity that takes seriously ill or disabled pilgrims to Lourdes by Jumbulance, said he had been a patron of the charity and was a great loss.

“My friendship with Jimmy Savile developed over many years since I was assistant priest in St Patrick’s Parish, Kilsyth, along with the parish priest, the then Fr Denis O’Connell,” Cardinal O’Brien said. ” We were always trying to fundraise, not only for the parish, but for a variety of local and national charities and Father Denis had got to know Jimmy quite simply because of Jimmy’s mother, ‘The Duchess.’  It was Jimmy’s fond mother who attributed the healing of Jimmy when an infant to her prayers to the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, a young Scottish nun.”

The cardinal also spoke of the entertainer’s work with Across.

Mr Allen from the charity said: “We were saddened to hear of the death of Jimmy Savile who had a long connection with the Across Trust and Across. Jimmy launched the first Jumbulance to the press in June 1973. At the launch he introduced the Across Trust to the Green Shield Trading Stamp Company that donated 60p to charities for every complete book of stamps. Many thousands of pounds were to be raised for the trust in this way.”

Mr Allen said Mr Savile had been delighted to become a patron of the charity and contributed to its success greatly.

“He provided his image on promotional posters and his voice in films and videos, until his retirement at the 25th London Jumboball in 1998,” he said. “Throughout that time, he allowed the trust to use his name and his influence to obtain the support of the media, the public, and through his long-running show Jim’ll Fix It, the schools and schoolchildren. In 1981 he featured an Alligator Jumbulance on the show.”

In 2001, when the Across Trust ceased to operate, Across Scotland used its status as a separate Scottish charity to launch an appeal for funds to enable the Jumbulance service to be continued to which Mr Savile was a generous donor. In a few months the appeal raised enough to buy two of the Across Trust Jumbulances and the pilgrimages to Lourdes were able to continue. The first went out at Easter 2002.

Across Scotland changed its name to Across in 2007 and Mr Allen recalled that Mr Savile was very much part of the relaunch.

“We took delivery of a new Jumbulance,” he recalled. “Jimmy was prominent at its launch in April 2007 when it was dedicated to the memory of the late Pope John Paul II by Cardinal Keith O’Brien at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. He joined the ceremony in his own inimitable way, making a speech at the cathedral Mass, extolling the work of Across.”

Born on October 31, 1926 in Leeds, Jimmy Saville was the youngest of seven children born to Agnes Monica (Kelly) and Vincent Joseph Marie Savile.

He began his career as a DJ and worked for Radio Luxembourg before moving to BBC Radio One. He later hosted the first episode of Top of the Pops before hosting Jim’ll Fix It for 20 years—a show which granted wishes for more than 1500 children. He was also a wrestler and ran in more than 200 marathons to raise funds for good causes.

Known for his trademark tracksuit, glitzy jewellery, sunglasses and wild hairstyles he lived with his mother until her death in 1973. Although wealthy, he gave away nine tenths of his income to two charitable trusts and latterly, became famous for his charity fundraising and volunteer work.

He received many awards and honours throughout his life including the OBE, the Papal Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great (KCSG), and became a Knight of Malta.

— ian@sconews.co.uk

Pic: Paul McSherry

Comments - 2 Responses

  1. paul says:

    now then now then ,

  2. J Saviles ghost says:

    Hmm what unfortunate company to keep ,

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