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Video: Now Scarborough turns out for Jimmy Savile’s final farewell

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HUNDREDS of people have lined the seafront in Scarborough to say goodbye to Sir Jimmy Savile as he made his final journey.

Members of the public standing along the foreshore in the North Yorkshire town broke into applause as the hearse carrying the veteran DJ’s coffin passed by.

Sir Jimmy will make a tour of Scarborough before being taken to a cemetery, where he will be buried at a 45-degree angle, looking out to sea.

The cortege began its journey at the broadcasting legend’s flat on the esplanade.

Silence descended on the crowd as the cars made their way down to the seafront, where the funeral director got out of the hearse and slowly walked the cortege past wellwishers.

But people broke into applause as the cars passed along the road of amusement arcades and seaside shops.

A sign reading “Goodbye Jimmy” had been hung on the Futurist theatre’s show listings board.

The cortege continued past the lifeboat station, harbour and Peasholm Park before arriving at Woodlands Cemetery shortly before 1pm.

Sir Jimmy’s burial plot is positioned in the most elevated part of the hillside with a view over Scarborough and the sea, obscured today by mist.

The gold-coloured coffin was taken from the hearse and placed by the graveside, where Father Martin Kelly, a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Leeds, conducted the service.

Around 100 members of the public gathered in the cemetery to watch the short burial.

Sir Jimmy’s family and friends stood next to the grave, some wearing specially-made badges reading “Jim Fixed It For Me”.

The DJ’s niece, Mandy McKenna, gave a reading by the grave before Father Kelly paid tribute to the star.

The priest said Sir Jimmy was “a man who had a place deep in people’s hearts”.

He said: “These past days have spoken of the great affection with which Jimmy Savile was held by so many.”

Father Kelly spoke of Sir Jimmy’s charity work and help for people who were sick or injured.

“He was a man who knew what was important,” he said.

After the coffin was carefully placed into the grave, Roger Foster, Sir Jimmy’s nephew, was the first of the family members to throw a single white rose on to it.

When friends and family had thrown their flowers, members of the public were invited to the graveside to pay their respects.

Sir Jimmy requested that his coffin be laid in the grave at a 45-degree angle so he could see the sea.

He was buried with his Royal Marines green beret and medal, rosary beads and Help For Heroes wristband.

Dave Bishop, 67, from Nottingham, attended the burial dressed as Elvis.

Mr Bishop, who also goes by the name Lord Biro of the Bus Pass Elvis Party, said: “Jimmy Savile was a big Elvis fan so it seemed like the right thing to do to come and pay my respects.

“I bought a 99p bunch of flowers from the pound shop and threw them in. I think Jimmy would have liked it.”

Yesterday, after a lifetime of giving, Sir Jimmy proved as generous in his death by providing a “substantial” donation which will be his lasting legacy in Yorkshire.

The one-time miner, who died on October 29 aged 84, honoured his home city of Leeds with a large donation to create a new hospital institute devoted to helping heart patients.

The bequest from his will has yet to be revealed but is a “substantial” amount.

It will be used to create The Savile Institute at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, devoted to improving outcomes for heart patients across Yorkshire.

The broadcasting legend’s legacy also includes continued funding to help young students enter the medical profession.

Five Savile scholars graduated this summer thanks to money he donated to support the Leeds Undergraduate Research Enterprise (LURE) scheme and funding for future Savile scholars will continue.

Sir Jimmy was a generous supporter of Leeds hospitals charities in a connection with can be traced back as far as the 1960s.

As well as working as a volunteer hospital porter, he also had reason to be thankful for the care provided in Leeds, where he had heart surgery at the former Killingbeck Hospital in 1997.

The Savile Institute will be led by Leeds consultant cardiologist Professor Mohan Sivananthan, who became friends with Sir Jimmy during his heart treatment.

Professor Sivananthan said: “I feel very privileged to have got to know Sir Jimmy over the years and valued his friendship and support extremely highly. I was absolutely delighted to hear that Sir Jimmy decided to remember us in his will – it is the sort of generous gesture which was typical of him and his commitment to helping other people.

“It’s still very early days in terms of what the institute will look like and how it will develop, but we are determined to work closely with the existing heart charities in Yorkshire and nationally to create a resource which can truly benefit patients and make a difference in fulfilment of his wishes.”

The Savile Institute will be based at Leeds General Infirmary and is intended to lead the way in helping to eliminate cardio vascular disease (CVD) and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research, according to a hospital spokesman.

“It will pioneer research into the causes of heart disease and improved methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment and support scientists and inventors who work to achieve new knowledge in CVD.”

The Savile Institute’s aim will be to “reduce inequalities in the levels of diagnosis and management of CVD across Yorkshire” and promote lifestyle changes.

A trust spokesman said: “The plan is to develop a state-of-the-art surveillance system capable of providing timely and ongoing information to support evidence-based decisions around CVD prevention and management activities across the county.”

Health workers – from porters to professors – were among those who paid tribute to Sir Jimmy yesterday.

Cardiologist Professor Alistair Hall said: “He had done it all, seen it all, got it all and, if I may add, given it all.”

Yesterday thousands of well-wishers from all walks of life lined the streets of Leeds as the cortege passed by.

They broke into spontaneous applause as the cars pulled up outside St Anne’s Cathedral.

Calls of “Jimmy” rang out through the crowd as the pall bearers approached the steps.

Members of the public said it was now time to honour Sir Jimmy, with several people backing the idea of a statue.

Bus driver Richard Stones, 43, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, who had taken a day off to watch the service, said: “I met him a few times in the Flying Pizza in Leeds. You could always go up and speak to him.

“On the radio this morning they were asking people to sum up Jimmy in three words. One said ‘big fat cigar’, but I would say ‘heart of gold’.”

After the service, Leeds Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “It was a remarkable send-off which reflected the life of a very flamboyant showbusiness person who was also a man of the people. I thought it was a fantastic service.”

Leeds University staff also paid tribute to Sir Jimmy, himself an honorary graduate who donated money to support the LURE undergraduate sponsorship scheme.

Co-director of LURE Dr Karen Lee said: “Sir Jimmy was a truly extraordinary citizen whose immense generosity was coupled with a vision to make people’s lives better, on every front. We, at the University of Leeds Medical School , were hugely privileged to have known Sir Jimmy and to have had his support.”

 

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