AS THE CATHOLIC Church looks to strip Jimmy Savile of his papal knighthood and the first anniversary of the late TV presenter’s death approaches, his family have issued a statement addressing the recent “firestorm” of allegations against him.
Savile’s nephew Roger Foster said:
A year ago our uncle, Sir Jimmy Savile, passed away.
It was a shock when it happened as I had only seen him the week before and although seeming under the weather, I had no concerns over his wellbeing. A week later he was dead and my cousin and I were left with the task of organising his funeral.
We were proud of him. Proud of his achievements and the help he had been able to give to others.
We knew nothing of the firestorm of allegations to come. We set out to organise the funeral knowing that he was well respected by many, many thousands of people.
We knew that the funeral was going to grow because so many people wanted to be a part of the celebration of his life.
We felt so honoured that so many wanted to remember him and mark his passing.
As time passed, the grieving process enabled us to come to terms with his death. By the time summer arrived we were getting ready for the auction of his possessions so that, as he requested in his will, the money could go to his charities. It was a great success.
We became aware of the programme that was being made with allegations of a darker side to him that we knew nothing about.
I watched the programme in horror and could not believe that these allegations were about our uncle. This wasn’t the man we knew and loved.
Like everyone else we asked the question, Why now? We couldn’t find an answer.
The allegations kept coming and were beginning to overwhelm us. Media were chasing us asking for interviews as family members.
The allegations are very serious and we began to have doubts as to our own feeling towards our uncle.
How could the person we thought we knew and loved do such a thing?
Why would a man who raised so much money for charity, who gave so much of his own time and energy for others risk it all doing indecent criminal acts? How could anyone live their life doing the ‘most good and most evil’ at the same time?
We became more aware of the outrage that many members of the public were feeling.
We began to think that his headstone, which we had only unveiled a couple of weeks earlier could become a target for people wishing to show there emotions.
The dignity of the cemetery, the people who are buried there and the relatives who tend the graves had to be respected.
We took the decision to remove and destroy the headstone so that it couldn’t become a focus for malicious people.
The decision was a difficult one to make but we knew it was the right one.
A vilification of his name, his achievements and everything he stood for followed. People are moving as quickly as possible to disassociate themselves from him.
His charities, which he was so proud of, debated the prospect of removing his name from their title.
The trustees have since decided that this wasn’t enough and that the charities will have to be wound up and the monies given to other charities working in a similar field.
Records of all his efforts and the good work he had done, have been, or are in the process of being removed.
We recognise that even our own despair and sadness does not compare to that felt by the victims.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have suffered from every kind of abuse over so many years and we offer our deepest sympathy in what must have been a terrible time for all of them.
We can understand their reluctance to say anything earlier and can appreciate the courage it has taken to speak out now.
Our hearts go out to them and we offer them our sympathy and understanding in their anguish.
Where will it all end? Who knows? The repercussions of this scandal are enormous.
We, as his closest family, have to endure further revelations on a daily basis.
Our feelings are in turmoil as we await the next turn of events.