Tributes to Sir Jimmy SavileBy Hugh Fort
November 04, 2011
Tributes have been paid to cigar-smoking, tracksuit-wearing marathon runner Sir Jimmy Savile who worked tirelessly to raise cash for Broadmoor Hospital and was regularly spotted around the village in his not-so-inconspicuous gold Rolls Royce.
The former host of Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops died aged 84 at home in Leeds on Saturday and people in Crowthorne have fondly remembered the eccentric Yorkshireman.
Sir Jimmy was a long-standing supporter of the high-security psychiatric hospital in Crowthorne and was instrumental in designing and opening its first gym.
In his regular visits to the hospital he was regularly spotted around the village puffing on his famous cigar or training for one of his many fundraising marathon runs. He also made regular appearances at Crowthorne Carnival in his famous roller, which was used for many years to transport the winning Carnival Queen.
Councillor Jim Finnie, Crowthorne Parish Council member, said: “Jimmy was a real extrovert, and a tremendous community man.
“He was a tremendous runner and you could tell he just loved people.It’s a really sad loss.
“I always remember in the old days of the Crowthorne Carnival when there was a half marathon and he’d always turn up in that fantastic car and then run in the race. He was very popular around the village and a really, really excellent person.”
Staff at the West London Mental Health Trust, which runs Broadmoor, have also paid tribute to the extravagant star.
A spokesman said: “Jimmy was a key supporter of mental health service improvements; he was particularly interested in the work of Broadmoor Hospital where he had a long association. He supported the well-being of its patients and staff and worked as a hospital volunteer in various roles from the 1970s to recent years.
“Understanding the relationship between recovery and patient involvement in engaging activities, Jimmy campaigned tirelessly for better hospital sport and recreational activities for patients. He was instrumental in developing and opening the hospital’s first gym, which was well used and appreciated by our patients.
“Jimmy recognised the importance of staff welfare and worked with various groups to ensure their contributions were acknowledged.
“The hospital is grateful for his continuous support and commitment in his services to others."
Former Bracknell Forest Standard reporter Adam J Smith remembered his first weekend on the job in 2000 when he was sent to meet Sir Jimmy at a fundraising event at the hospital.
He said: “When we arrived he yelled ‘morning men’ at us.
“He was wearing a newspaper print shell-suit.
“It was a bit intimidating meeting such a legend as I’d only started a few days beforehand, but he was really friendly with all his ‘now then, now then’s and ‘jingle jangles’.”
n Did you write to Jim’ll Fix It or meet the great man in his visits to Bracknell? Please contact our newsdesk on (0118) 918 3026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.