For those of you reading from outside of the UK, Jimmy Savile was a DJ and television presenter who was first awarded an OBE and eventually a knighthood for his charity fundraising work.
Many people of a similar age to Neil and myself remembered with affection from our childhood, as you will see from the comments that came in after this was posted. He presented a children’s television programme called ‘Jim’ll Fix It’, which invited children to write down a wish in a letter to Jim and he would ‘fix it’ that their wish would come true.
He died in October 2011, and a year later, in November 2012, came the first allegations that grew to Savile now being believed to be Britain’s most prolific child sex offender with over 300 potential victims.
Nobody knew about this at the time when Neil wrote the following post in 2009. – Louise (2013)
Interesting…an interesting day it has been indeed my friends,
As if in answer to my moans and groans of yesterday, today has been anything but dull. For a couple of hours this afternoon we were delighted to receive a visit from Sir Jimmy Savile himself! That’s right, the legendary knight of the realm has agreed to lend his weight and influence to our cause. Whilst the unsurprisingly informal visit yielded a great deal of humour, we spoke at length about motor neurone disease and the difficulties faced in raising awareness. But the veteran charity supporter also agreed to consider ways in which he may help us and allowed us to take several photographs to use as we wish; one of these is included below for your green-eyed admiration!
We obviously would like to thank Sir Jimmy sincerely for not only giving us his time, but also for his help in tackling the most difficult “fix it” of all time; our ultimate aim of finding a cure for motor neurone disease.
Oscar, like those who know him would expect, had his five minutes of shyness before running around the room unperturbed by such a powerful presence; save for when the jangling of the immense gold bracelet caught his attention! It will certainly be a tale to tell him when he is old enough to understand the magnitude of the event!
We will of course keep you informed of any developments that occur as a result of this meeting via The Plattitude. Incidentally, but by no means insignificantly, the unexpected gathering occurred because an inspector, a very nice chap called Mick, is one of my brother’s superiors at the West Yorkshire police force and has been friends with Sir Jimmy for over 25 years; we are obviously very grateful to both Mick and Matthew for organising it.
After today’s excitement and subsequent writing of this post, I am a very happy but very tired man. So much so that I may even let Louise do the typing tomorrow!
Enjoy the photograph, we did!
All my love,
Where to start? The day was surreal enough for us without the subsequent knowledge that he was a wolf in sheep's clothing. The people that arranged for Savile to visit the house had every intention at the time that this would be a good thing, for publicity and awareness raising potential.
I can remember being in contact with other mothers in my situation at the time, sending emails late at night to each other, desperate to think of a celebrity that would help us get the word out and spread awareness of a disease that nobody wanted to acknowledge. There’s nothing nice about motor neurone disease, it doesn’t produce any cute images or support anything fluffy that can’t speak for itself, there’s nothing sexy about it, there’s nothing that would make anyone want to acknowledge its existence far less put their name anywhere near it. Sadly charity is at the mercy of celebrity and popularity. The bigger the celebrity, the weightier the yield – and the more attractive the charity, the more attractive the celebrity. There we were, desperate mothers, sitting at our computers with our last five minutes of energy in the day, flying suggestions backwards and forwards, with our babies asleep in bed and our husbands dying in the next room. Sad times to remember.
I opened the door to Savile not knowing charity was a vehicle of trust for him, his way of hiding in full view. The fact that he used charity to hide his tracks and used people like Neil, fighting for awareness with his last breath, to build a public persona of trust just saddens and disgusts me even more.
I won’t share the photograph Neil talks of, as it means a completely different thing now as when we posed for it in 2009. – Louise (2013)