Friday, 4 November 2011
Jim fixed it so none of us knew him - but we all knew his work
As I read some of the things he did during his 84 years, it reminded me a lot of my favourite character in my favourite film – George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. In that movie George is given a chance to see what life would have been like if he had never been born and it was truly astonishing for him to realise (and for us to realise in our own lives through him) just how many people we touch during our relatively brief time on earth.
He used the fame he knew he had to publicise the causes he supported and to raise as much money as possible. And if it meant at times that his bizarre behaviour and outlandish look made us all secretly mock him, he didn’t mind as long as we were still putting our hands in our pockets as we did so.
Jimmy Savile was a genuine one-off, a genuine British eccentric. A man who did so much caring work yet claimed to have no emotions and no close friends and someone who kept all his mother’s clothes after she died and had them dry cleaned annually. He was an odd character in every sense of the phrase but a character he was nevertheless and if you ever doubt that he deserves to be remembered, I suggest you pay a visit to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and see what one eccentric can actually achieve.
Oh and can I ask people not to make Jimmy Savile jokes now? That means you and you and you.