Jimmy Savile: Tributes flood in

Image caption,
Sir Jimmy Savile: "A larger-than-life character and an inspiration to many."

Tributes are being paid to DJ, TV presenter and charity fundraiser Sir Jimmy Savile, who has died aged 84.

Sir Jimmy, one of the most famous names on British TV and radio in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, died on Saturday.

Tributes have come from such figures as the Prince of Wales, who said he was "saddened" to hear of Sir Jimmy death.

Details of how the broadcaster died are not yet known, but he was recently in hospital with pneumonia. His nephews said he died quietly in his sleep.

Alan Franey, former Chief Executive of Broadmoor Hospital

"I spent a lot of time with him and would say I knew him probably as well as anybody else knew him," Mr Franey told BBC 5 live.

"I spoke to him last Wednesday and asked him how he was, and he said he was feeling very tired and short of breath. Mentally, he was very alert. But he said to me: 'I'm coming to the end of the tunnel.'"

Mr Franey ran marathons with Sir Jimmy to raise money for causes including Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire and Leeds General Infirmary.

"Jimmy would spend time going round the hospital [at Broadmoor] talking to staff and talking to patients, and if he could do any fundraising he would do so," he said.

"He spent a lot of his life involved in raising [money for] charity and was passionate about helping people. Jimmy had a very normal upbringing but it was a tough upbringing and he never forgot his roots. He felt that he was in a situation where he could raise funds for people using his position in showbiz and he successfully did that."

David Hamilton, DJ

"We were together at Radio 1 in the '70s and the station was full of eccentric personalities, but he was certainly the most flamboyant of all," Hamilton told BBC 5 live.

"One of the essential things about Jimmy was that he was a man of the people. He knew his audience, he was very much in touch with his audience. I think the public were his family.

"Probably of all the DJs I worked with, I knew him less than any of the others. He kept himself very much to himself. He didn't drink so he wasn't the sort of man who would go down to the pub and have a bevvy with you."

Paul Bruce, who appeared on Jim'll Fix It

Sir Jimmy fixed it for Paul to drive an HGV lorry in 1979. "It was every child's dream to get on that programme," he said.

"It was fantastic to meet the guy and go on the programme, and I had 15-17 million people watching me on a Saturday evening. He was a great guy."

Graham Smith from Harrogate, Yorkshire, neighbour and colleague

"I lived in the apartment directly below Sir Jimmy for a few years and worked as a documentary cameraman on Jim'll Fix It," Mr Smith said.

"I got to know him quite well as neighbours as well as professionally. I also worked with Sir Jim on a video for Leeds General Infirmary. I was always impressed with the way he was around the hospital.

"He would chat with everyone and spend time with everyone. He was never too busy, he really liked people and he was happy to spend time with them.

He added: "Margaret Thatcher asked him to look after the wives of the G7 leaders during a conference. He took them to Stoke Mandeville. They were confronted by a man in tracksuit and a jewellery but by the end of the day, they were eating out of his hand."

Mark Thompson, BBC director general

"I am very sad to hear of Sir Jimmy Savile's death," said Mr Thompson.

"From Top of the Pops to Jim'll Fix It, Jimmy's unique style entertained generations of BBC audiences. Like millions of viewers and listeners we shall miss him greatly."

Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary

"Sir Jimmy Savile was one of broadcasting's most unique and colourful characters," said Mr Hunt.

"From Top of the Pops to making children's dreams come true on Jim'll Fix It, a generation of people will remember his catchphrases and sense of fun.

"But his lasting legacy will be the millions he raised for charity, tirelessly giving up his time and energy to help those causes he was passionate about."

Dave Lee Travis, radio presenter

Dave Lee Travis said Sir Jimmy could talk to anybody and "genuinely enjoyed" seeing the joy on the faces of the children on Jim'll Fix It.

But he was also a private man, he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme. "Deep down inside him there was a guy which was very hard to get to.

"I've known Jimmy Savile for over 50 years, that's a hell of a long period to know somebody, and I've never had an absolutely in-depth straight conversation with him because he's constantly got a sort of invisible shield up.

"He likes to keep his distance from everybody, even friends. He'll joke his way out of something if he doesn't want to answer you... I think probably enigma is a good word for it."

Charles Kennedy MP

The former Liberal Democrat leader and MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said Sir Jimmy was "a true and long-standing friend to the West Highlands over decades of diligence and decency".

"When not resident at his home in Glencoe, he made it available for mountain rescue use," he said.

"It was typical of the man that he never drew attention to such characteristic generosity. A sad loss indeed."

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council

"Sir Jimmy Savile was Leeds born and bred and he remained a Leeds lad throughout his life," Cllr Wakefield said.

"He was a much-loved and well-known figure - a larger-than-life character and an inspiration to many, particularly the children of the city.

"His enormous contribution to charity will never be forgotten. We are proud to have someone like him, who did so much for so many, come from Leeds."

John Myers, chief executive of industry body the Radio Academy

Mr Myers said: "The sad death of Sir Jimmy Savile represents a great loss to the UK radio industry.

"He was one of the pioneers of modern pop-music radio. He made the smooth transfer from Radio Luxembourg to the BBC in the late 1960s and from 1997 moved his broadcasts to commercial radio where he continued to be successful and well respected by radio audiences around the UK.

"The UK radio industry meets for its annual festival in Salford next week. He will be fondly remembered and his death will be marked at a special session on Tuesday morning."

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