Friends of Sir Jimmy Savile's shock at abuse allegationsBy Becky Barnes
October 11, 2012
Friends of the late Sir Jimmy Savile have expressed their shock at abuse allegations against the eccentric presenter and recalled memories of his ‘tremendous’ amount of fundraising for Broadmoor Hospital.
Dick Deacon, who said he travelled around the country for marathons with the Jim’ll Fix It host said although adult women would ‘throw themselves’ at the star, he never saw him with young girls.
But another friend said while he was shocked, he didn’t doubt the girls who’ve come forward to say they were either molested or raped by Sir Jimmy.
Mr Deacon, 71, from Crowthorne, former chairman of the Broadmoor Staff Club, said: “I am surprised after all this time these things are being said that he had done something wrong.
“Jimmy Savile was never short of lady friends.”
Mr Deacon said when he travelled with the former face of Top of The Pops for the Great North Run in 1987 two ladies wanted to meet the star.
He said: “He said ‘put them in your room and I’ll go see them’. In 1969 he used to have a camper van and he was never short of ladies visiting.”
Mr Deacon added Sir Jimmy had organised countless trips and activities for children in the Crowthorne area. He had also backed Broadmoor fundraisers and stepped in when local groups struggled with funds.
He said: “He did an awful lot of good things around here.”
Sir Jimmy was regularly spotted around Crowthorne puffing on his famous cigar or training for fundraising marathons. He often appeared at Crowthorne Carnival in his famous Rolls Royce, which was used for many years to transport the winning Carnival Queen.
Crowthorne and Bracknell Forest councillor Jim Finnie knew Sir Jimmy ‘very well’.
Cllr Finnie said: “I am very shocked and very surprised – I find it so unbelievable. I am not doubting those who have come forward, but how can all that go on and nobody say anything? It is a very difficult situation – he can’t respond to the claims or say what happened.”
The councillor took over from Sir Jimmy as chairman of the Broadmoor Hospital Advisory Committee when he retired.
He said: “He did so much for the community and raised a tremendous amount for charity. He came to Crowthorne Carnival for quite a few years and people loved to see him. The crowds would flock to Crowthorne to see him.”
Police at Scotland Yard confirmed they were probing 120 lines of inquiry with as many as 30 victims who are alleged to have been between 13 and 16 years old.
Commander Peter Spindler, head of Specialist Crime Investigations, said the allegations span four decades and information suggests abuse was on a ‘national scale’.
He said eight criminal allegations have been formally recorded.
Mr Spindler said: “The reality is this really has captured the public’s mind. We are getting calls from victims, from witnesses and third parties who believe they know something about it.”
Jim ‘fixed it’ for Broadmoor patients when he joined them on board the riverboat Southern Comfort Mississippi from Wargrave in June 1962.
The star once helped direct traffic when a Broadmoor female patient escape resulted in a 250 police search while he was visiting in February 1974.
In May 1985 Sir Jimmy joined hundreds of walkers for a nine-mile sponsored walk around the Broadmoor Hospital grounds before taking part in the London Marathon the following weekend.
A West London Mental Health NHS Trust spokeswoman said: “Jimmy Savile volunteered at the hospital from the late 60s for a number of years.
“Like others, we have been shocked to hear the allegations which have been made about Jimmy Savile.”