Farewell to Yorkshire legend Sir Jimmy Savile

HUNDREDS of people gathered in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds yesterday to celebrate the life of Sir Jimmy Savile.

HUNDREDS of people gathered in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds yesterday to celebrate the life of Sir Jimmy Savile.

Huge crowds of well wishers also gathered outside and cheered when Sir Jim’s gold-coloured casket was carried into the building by a six-strong team of Royal Marines.

The service was attended by Sir Jim’s family, friends and fundraising colleagues from numerous organisations, including Leeds General Infirmary and the spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville.

Famous faces in the crowd included DJ and TV presenter Mike Read, who arrived carrying a card from the Bee Gees ,and boxing star Frank Bruno.

Dignitaries included Scarborough’s mayor Cllr John Blackburn, who was mentioned in the opening address by principal celebrant the Rt Rev Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds.

The two-hour Requiem Mass featured touching eulogies from Sir Jim’s family and friends.

His nephew, retired headteacher Roger Foster, said: “He loved life and he loved people.

“He was a one-off, a showman and he was full of life.

“He was a happy man, he knew he was lucky and knew he had a gift and could help others.”

Mr Foster added that his uncle had no real interest whatsoever in gold, diamonds and “bling”.

He said: “They were just his props. What he loved more than anything was people.”

The congregation heard how Jimmy had been baptised at the cathedral in 1926 and had been a regular worshipper there ever since.

The Rt Rev Mgr Kieran Heskin said: “He faithfully attended mass on Sundays and during the week when he could.

“We were accustomed to seeing him slip in quietly at the back.”

A standing ovation was given at the end of the service as Sir Jim’s casket was carried from the cathedral, to be met by cheering crowds outside.

Following the service Frank Bruno said he thought the service was “fantastic”, adding: “He was a good man and you could have a laugh with him.”

Mike Read said: “I thought it was fantastic today. I can’t come to Scarborough tomorrow unfortunately as I’m working, but I know Jimmy loved it.”

His burial will take place today at 1pm at Woodlands Cemetery in Scarborough.