Leeds & West Yorkshire

Sir Jimmy Savile: Thousands of fans view coffin

Thousands of fans of Sir Jimmy Savile have paid their respects to the broadcaster and charity worker.

Sir Jimmy's gold-coloured coffin was on display at The Queens Hotel in Leeds, until 18:30 GMT.

According to the hotel, about 4,000 people visited to pay tribute to the 84-year-old Jim'll Fix It presenter, who died on 29 October.

Sir Jimmy's funeral will be held at St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds at 14:00 GMT on Wednesday.

The cortege will travel through the city before the Requiem Mass.

On Thursday, Sir Jimmy will be buried in a tracksuit at an angle of 45 degrees at a cemetery in Scarborough "to enable him to see the sea", funeral director Robert Morphet confirmed.

'Last legend'

Fans travelled from across the country to pay their respects at the hotel.

One, Richard Firth, 34, from Reading, Berkshire, travelled from London to say goodbye to the childhood hero he calls "Jim'll", in reference to the long-running TV show Jim'll Fix It.

Image caption The coffin's arrival marked the first of three days of celebrations of Sir Jimmy's life

Dressed in a tracksuit, with a sweatband around his head, Mr Firth said: "I'm here to pay tribute to the last legend."

The veteran broadcaster, who raised millions of pounds for charity, was found dead at his Roundhay flat two days before his 85th birthday.

The broadcaster's closed coffin, which was displayed in the bar of the hotel, features a crucifix and was covered with white roses.

His friend Howard Silverman said Sir Jimmy "would have loved" the events organised to celebrate his life.

Mr Silverman, who knew Sir Jimmy for 40 years, said: "He was a showman right till the end. I think he would have liked it - it's just a pity he's not here to see it."

Buried 'in tracksuit'

Jimmy Savile's nephew, Roger Foster, said: "I've just been overwhelmed by the people from all walks of life who have been here or sent condolence messages.

"I think he would revel in it. This is what he was about: just mixing with people and meeting people."

Mr Foster said the gold-coloured coffin was "the final piece of bling", and that Sir Jimmy would be buried wearing a tracksuit.

Mr Morphet, would not confirm the colour of the tracksuit, but said it was "appropriate for a funeral".

Sir Jimmy will be buried with a Royal Marines medal and green beret along with a Help for Heroes wristband.

Mr Silverman, who is reading a eulogy at Wednesday's funeral at the Roman Catholic St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds, said the plans for the DJ's final farewell were in keeping with his wishes.

Mr Morphet, of Joseph A Hey & Son Ltd, said he had never been asked to organise a three-day funeral and staff had been working 12 to 14-hour days.

On Wednesday, Sir Jimmy's cortege will visit his mother's house and the Leeds General Infirmary before arriving at the cathedral for a Requiem Mass.

On Thursday, 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.

Mr Morphet said: "As per Sir Jimmy's wishes, the casket will be at an angle of 45 degrees in the grave so he can see the sea.

"In my 32 years doing the job, I have never had a request like it."

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