Jimmy Savile 'no loner', says friend Howard Silverman

Howard Silverman Mr Silverman said Sir Jimmy used to host the Friday Morning Club at his flat

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Sir Jimmy Savile was "no loner", according to a close friend of the veteran broadcaster.

Sir Jimmy, who died at his home in Leeds on Saturday, was Howard Silverman's best man in 2009.

Mr Silverman, 59, said those who claimed the 84-year-old did not mix with people when the cameras were off "didn't know him".

A book of condolence to Sir Jimmy has been set up in Saviles Hall, opposite the Royal Armouries Museum in the city.

Mr Silverman, a Leeds hairdresser, said he became a close friend of Sir Jimmy's after they met jogging on the streets of the city.

"All his pals, every one of them, were just like me - an ordinary geezer," he said.

Cakes and whisky

He and Sir Jimmy used to "laugh at the stories people came out with" in the media.

Talking to BBC Radio Leeds, Mr Silverman said that every Friday morning Sir Jimmy held what was known as the FMC, or Friday Morning Club, at his flat.

Friends of Sir Jimmy would be invited to sit around a big table laden with tea, cakes and whisky.

Enveloped in the host's cigar smoke, the old friends would reminisce and chat the morning away.

Mr Silverman said: "If you saw that, no-one would say he didn't have pals."

'Hilarious' speech

According to Mr Silverman, Sir Jimmy had seven homes across the UK including in Glencoe, Bournemouth and Scarborough and he had friends in all those places.

When Mr Silverman got married two years ago, he asked Sir Jimmy to be his best man - but told him not to turn up in one of the tracksuits that had become his trademark.

Sir Jimmy took him at his word and duly arrived in a suit, before giving a "wonderful" and "hilarious" speech.

Mr Silverman saw Sir Jimmy last Wednesday, when they went for a meal at a pub near the entertainer's flat in Roundhay, Leeds.

The veteran broadcaster did not even touch the soup he ordered and Mr Silverman had to ask if he was really all right.

Sir Jimmy said: "Of course, I'm fine."

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