Leeds backs off as Sir Jim Savile’s legacy begins to unravel

Sir Jimmy Savile
Sir Jimmy Savile
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Sir Jimmy Savile’s high-profile legacy in his home city of Leeds was unravelling today as fresh sex abuse allegations were levelled against him.

Public figures and groups were keen to associate themselves with Sir Jimmy during his life and in the scandal-free months that followed his death.

But, with the number of women coming forward to accuse him of abuse now reported to have exceeded 40, the city is moving to distance itself from the showbiz legend and charity fundraiser.

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust has confirmed it is considering changing its name in the wake of the allegations.

A spokeswoman for the charity said the step had been suggested by “a number of members of the public”.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The trustees are currently considering all options.

“[They] will do all they can to ensure the charity’s beneficiaries are not adversely affected by the recent reports.”

The Saviles Hall conference facility next to the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds yesterday appeared to have removed a section of its website relating to events at the venue that had been attended by Sir Jimmy.

An organiser of a Sir Jimmy-themed walking tour around Leeds has also said it is “very doubtful” that any more will take place.

Dozens of people had attended three Savile walks staged by tourist guide Ken Goor since April.

A fourth on Thursday night, however, failed to attract any inquiries, said Mr Goor.

Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda, meanwhile, confirmed it had stopped selling Sir Jimmy fancy dress costumes on its website.

The clothing was available to buy at £45 plus a delivery charge of £2.95 up until Thursday morning.

As reported in yesterday’s YEP, plans to include a lifesize image of Sir Jimmy in a steel artwork on a new cycle route in Leeds are now in doubt.

Proposals for a statue commemorating his life in Scarborough have also been dropped and a plaque outside his old home in the town taken down after it was vandalised.

Two archive editions of Top of the Pops featuring Sir Jimmy have been pulled from the BBC schedules.

The backlash against the DJ and television presenter has seen calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood.

Yesterday, though, a spokesman for the Cabinet Office said the posthumous removal of a knighthood was impossible.

He told the YEP that a person who is made a knight automatically becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Membership is on a lifetime-only basis, however, which means that when the recipient dies, their knighthood technically ceases to exist.

Abuse claims began to mount up against Sir Jimmy ahead of the broadcast of an ITV documentary on Wednesday night.

Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile carried testimonies from a number of women who say they were indecently assaulted by the star when they were schoolgirls in the 1960s and 1970s.

More alleged victims have spoken out since the show aired and Scotland Yard has now taken the national lead in assessing the accusations.

Sir Jimmy died at his home in Roundhay last October, aged 84.

Cori Braham.

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