He WAS a larger than life character and yesterday a giant headstone was unveiled at Sir Jimmy Savile’s final seaside resting place.
The star wanted to be buried under the epitaph he dreamed up years ago – “It was good while it lasted.”
However there was a slight setback when it was realised there was a spelling mistake etched in granite on the memorial.
The error was not noticed on the six-foot wide and four-foot tall £4,000 grave spanning three plots until after the ceremony.
Nobody had bargained on a potted biography referring to him as “Chieftan of Lochaber Highland Games” in 18mm gold letters on one of the 18inch thick slabs.
Funeral Director, Robert Morphet, could not understand how the mistake had happened but said: “It will be put right – whatever it takes.”
The star’s dying wish to be buried at a 45 degree angle in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, last year meant months had to pass before the ground was firm enough to plant his tall memorial.
There was also further hold-up because of DNA tests which failed to prove Georgina Ray, of Cannock, Staffordshire, was Sir Jimmy’s daughter - delaying the inscription.
Yesterday family and friends gathered at the seaside town’s Woodlands Cemetery for the dedication and blessing of the TV presenter’s final resting place as nephew Roger Foster joked “Jim had fixed it” for the forecast rain to hold off.
Mr Foster, 67, from Goole, said: “Jimmy’s legacy will be long lasting. The Jimmy Savile charity trust will soon start giving money to good causes.
“The headstone will become a tourist attraction. Dozens of people have already been coming to look for the grave even though there was no headstone.
“He was just an ordinary bloke from the back streets of Leeds but everyone loved him and wants to pay their respects.
“I dare say soon there will be an ice cream stall and someone selling Jim’ll Fix It badges.
“We feel very proud. I think Jimmy would be highly amused and honoured because he always liked a bit of fun.
“He always said he would never have a headstone because he wasn’t going anywhere but if had to have one it should have ‘It was good while it lasted’ on it.”
Sir Jimmy, who died last October aged 84, came up with his own epitaph years ago while talking about graves at his flat in Roundhay, Leeds, with one of his best pals Howard Silverman.
Mr Silverman, 64, said: “The day he died I phoned the family to say that was what he wanted.
“It says everything and is typical Jimmy. He had the fortune and fame and made the fame work for the charities he raised £45m for – but he knew nothing lasts forever.
“Jimmy was always joking ‘I’m not going anywhere” because he thought it was immortal.
“But it was one of his rare serious moments that he looked up at me and said: ‘I want that on my gravestone.’ He said it years ago but kept repeating it so we knew he meant it.”
The ebony black polished granite memorial is made up of a centre panel with a bronze covered crucifix and two side panels turned slightly towards the centre.
Sir Jimmy’s original plot was larger than normal anyway because of the size of his gold casket and it was decided to incorporate two adjoining plots into a single resting place to give fans somewhere to stand while paying their respects.
The grave commands views of the resort’s North and South Bays. A laser etching on one side shows a picture taken of Jimmy around 1965 when he was 37. The image on the other shows Sir Jimmy opening the new post office in South Milford four years ago.
Gold lettering on the front facing the sea lists the charities which the star supported and a poem about his life, featuring many of his catch phrases.
On the back of the stone in another inscription, saying: “I, Sir Jimmy Savile, do lie beneath this stone.
“From here I view North & South Bay. And the place that was my home. The angly that I lie at is 45 degree. And that is so I always have a view out to sea.”
Father Michael Sellers, of St Joseph’s Church, Scarborough, blessed the grave. Yesterday’s ceremony was followed by the unveiling of a plaque by Scarborough Civic Society at the star’s Scarborough flat. The plaques recording connections with famous residents are usually blue but this one was gilded to reflect the star’s love of bling.
Gerald Brook, from Leeds, who visited Scarborough yesterday on his 67th birthday to pay his respects said was fitting the star now had a memorial to match his reputation.