Leeds & West Yorkshire

Sir Jimmy Savile's funeral takes place at Leeds Cathedral

Sir Jimmy Savile's funeral has taken place at Leeds Cathedral.

Earlier, hundreds of fans gathered in the city centre to pay their respects as the former DJ and presenter made his final journey through the city.

The cortege travelled through Leeds before the service, passing Sir Jimmy's childhood home and Leeds General Infirmary where he had often worked.

Fellow DJ Mike Read said: "Today should be a celebration. He'd have loved it, a showman to the end."

Hundreds of people had earlier gathered at the Queen's Hotel, where his gold-coloured coffin has been on public display.

Relatives and friends entitled to access a private room to view his body had been given special Jim'll Fix It badges to get in.

'Jimmy' shouts

Before arriving at the cathedral, the cortege stopped outside Leeds General Infirmary, the hospital for which Sir Jimmy raised large amounts of money and where he spent hours volunteering as a porter.

DJs Andy Peebles and Dave Eager were at the service
A number of DJs attended the service

As the hearse approached the cathedral, calls of "Jimmy" rang out through the crowds lining the street.

Addressing the congregation, the Right Rev Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds, said: "Today Jimmy lies at the front of the cathedral where in former years he has remained discreetly hidden at the back in order not to disturb people's prayers or distract their attention from what was taking place at the altar."

The service at the cathedral was also attended by former Conservative minister Lord Tebbit and boxer Frank Bruno.

Eulogies were read by Sir Jimmy's nephew Roger Foster, his friends Howard Silverman and Neil Littlewood, and representatives from Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Mr Foster, one of the family members organising the funeral events, said he was "overwhelmed" by the public response to his uncle.

'DJs' mentor'

"He would go to celebrity functions but in his life he always chose to mix with ordinary, everyday people," he said.

Paying tribute, DJ Tony Prince said: "He was my mentor. He was the mentor for DJs in Europe."

He added: "He lived his life with his tongue in his cheek.

"If there's a heaven, he'll be laughing now if he's got time. Because if there is a heaven, he'll be introducing Elvis on the clouds."

Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said many people in the city had wanted to pay their respects.

Staff lined outside Leeds General Infirmary as the funeral procession of Sir Jimmy Savile passes
Staff lined up outside Leeds General Infirmary to pay tribute to Sir Jimmy

"What has taken me by surprise has been the fact that nearly everybody I speak to knew him, experienced some time with him or actually saw him running.

"That's an incredible skill and achievement."

Sir Jimmy died at his home in Roundhay, Leeds, on 29 October, aged 84.

On Tuesday, fans travelled from across the country to see Sir Jimmy's coffin, which was covered with white roses.

Sir Jimmy will be buried in Scarborough on Thursday with his green beret, presented to him by the Royal Marines in the 1970s, after a speed march 30 miles across Dartmoor.

Maj Blair Illingworth, officer commanding the Leeds detachment of the Royal Marine Reserve which provided the pallbearers, said he would be treated as "one of our own".

Sir Jimmy, wearing a trademark tracksuit, will also be buried with a Help for Heroes wristband because of his support for the armed services over the years.

His body will be set at an angle of 45-degrees at a cemetery in Scarborough "to enable him to see the sea", funeral director Robert Morphet said.

The coffin will tour Scarborough, where he had a home, to give people there the chance to pay their respects before Sir Jimmy is laid to rest in the most elevated plot in the cemetery.

Map showing the route of the funeral cortege

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