Charity founded by Jimmy Savile may drop name

Sir Jimmy Savile
Sir Jimmy Savile
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A CHARITY founded by Sir Jimmy Savile is considering changing its name as child sex abuse allegations continue to swirl around the late star.

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust said the move had been suggested by a “number of members of the public”.

Janet Street-Porter

Janet Street-Porter

A spokeswoman for the charity told the Yorkshire 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 the late DJ.

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

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

Yesterday’s ongoing backlash against the showbusiness legend and charity fundraiser came as a retired nurse claimed she witnessed him molesting a vulnerable woman patient at Leeds General Infirmary.

June Thornton, 80, said she saw Sir Jimmy indecently assault the patient in 1972, during one of his regular shifts as a volunteer porter at the hospital.

Former York Hospital nurse Mrs Thornton told how she was recovering from back surgery and was lying in a four-bed bay in the LGI’s Brotherton wing when she saw him kissing and groping a young woman, whom she believed had undergone neurosurgery and was unable to resist.

“He just helped himself to her,” she said. “There is no doubt whatsoever that it was Jimmy Savile and that he molested that woman.

“I can still remember seeing exactly what he did. He molested her. He rubbed his hands over her chest and further down her front.”

Mrs Thornton, from York, claimed that when she told a nurse she took no notice and nothing was done.

She went on: “I couldn’t believe it. I remember saying ‘Don’t let that man anywhere near me. If he does, I will scream the place down’.”

The claims came as a North Yorkshire woman alleged she was touched inappropriately by Savile in a lift at the LGI when she was 16.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said the abuse happened in 1973 as he wheeled her back from a spinal operation.

She said: “I was on a hospital trolley when I was sexually assaulted by him. I was lying flat on my back. I was crying after having this procedure because I was in pain. He bent down and I thought he was giving me a reassuring cuddle, but he inappropriately touched my chest.

“I have always remembered that incident. I was an adolescent but I knew what he did was wrong.”

A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We don’t have any record of official complaints about Sir Jimmy Savile’s behaviour during the time he worked as a volunteer porter at Leeds General Infirmary.

“We haven’t been contacted by the police to help with any inquiries.

“If we are then we will of course assist them properly as we would in any such matter.”

The claims against DJ and television presenter Sir Jimmy have prompted 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 said 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 publicly 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 last October, aged 84.