YEP’s Alison Bellamy to write book on Leeds’s own Sir Jimmy Savile

Sir Jimmy Savile with YEP reporter Alison Bellamy.

Sir Jimmy Savile with YEP reporter Alison Bellamy.

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The life of Leeds legend Sir Jimmy Savile is to be documented in a new book by Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Alison Bellamy.

The DJ, TV personality and charity fundraiser extraordinaire, died on October 29, at his Leeds flat, just two days before his 85th birthday.

The death of the Leeds man who had devoted a massive amount of his life to helping others triggered reaction and sympathy from as far away as America and Australia.

Sir Jimmy was “laid in state” in a gold-coloured coffin in his favourite hotel, the Queens in Leeds City Square and a packed cathedral attended a full requiem mass for the millionaire.

After the service his body was taken in a cortege to be interred at a cemetery in Scarborough, where he had one of his several homes.

During his long, colourful life the television and radio personality donated large sums of money to hospitals and medical charities as well as raising millions more through sponsored marathons, bike rides and more extravagant fund-raisers.

His life story will be told in the new, definitive and authorised biography, by mum-of-two Alison, from Dewsbury, who became a close personal friend of the icon during the last decade, after covering his many news stories. Alison regularly met Sir James to listen to a fund of stories from the talkative celebrity.

The book will also raise funds for Sir Jimmy’s favourite charities through a £1 donation from every copy sold.

Heavily illustrated, including never before seen family photographs, the book will trace Sir Jimmy’s roller-coaster life from his birth in Leeds in 1926 to his funeral at St Anne’s Catholic Cathedral in Leeds, which brought the city to a standstill.

Through the book, readers will discover more about Sir Jimmy’s childhood as the youngest of seven children, to his years as a ‘Bevin Boy’ miner and the near-fatal pit explosion that forced him into a new career in the dance halls of Leeds from where his talent for broadcasting was discovered.

The marathon-running Fix It star’s rise to fame started as DJ at the Leeds Mecca, on to Radio Luxembourg and eventually to the BBC, where he hosted the first ever Top of the Pops in 1964.

From 1975 to 1994, he presented Jim’ll Fix It, which brought in five million Dear Jim letters over 19 years.

The tireless charity worker, who was also a volunteer hospital porter, is estimated to have raised around £45 million for charity.

In addition to interviews with Sir Jimmy’s family, his closest group of friends and showbiz personalities, Alison has also tracked down people who knew him in his many different guises: from those who recall his dance hall days of the 1950s to participants in Jim’ll Fix It and the many people he met through charities.

These personal memories help to lift the lid on the real man behind the trademark blond hair, gold jewellery, track suits and cigars.

The book is due out in spring 2012. Publisher Great Northern Books is now inviting fans to have their name printed in special tribute pages at the back of the book.

Author Alison said: “The public reaction and sadness, across the whole country, to Sir Jimmy’s death demonstrated just how much he was admired by all kinds of people.

“The £1 donation from the sale of each book means that everyone who buys a copy is helping to keep Sir Jimmy’s fundraising work alive, and that’s something that I know will make him smile, as he looks down from above.”

To pre-order a copy of the special subscriber edition of the Jimmy Savile biography, published by Great Northern Books, and to have your name included in the tribute pages within the book, return the order coupon or go to www.greatnorthernbooks.co.uk or tel: 01274 735056.

The subscriber offer price is £20 including p&p, available until 28 February 2012.

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