TRIBUTES have been paid to Sir Jimmy Savile for his part in helping found Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice.
Sir Jimmy – who died last Saturday, two days before his 85th birthday – took part in the “conception” of the town’s hospice, and persuaded Prince Charles to become the hospice’s patron after mentioning the work of Pontefract volunteers to him over tea.
Ann Gleed, hospice trustee, said: “Without Jimmy’s contact and kindness mentioning our group to the Prince of Wales, I do very much doubt there would have been a hospice at all, because the prince’s involvement was vital to our survival.”
Mrs Gleed wrote to Jimmy asking him to run in a half-marathon to raise money for the hospice in 1986.
He fired the starting pistol on the race and subsequently on the charity’s growth.
Mrs Gleed said: “He was a nice man and really did take your breath away. He came to visit us once more after the marathon but would call the hospice every few months to check in with us and see how we were doing.”
Sir Jimmy’s Pontefract connection started during World War Two, when he was a Bevin Boy at Prince of Wales Colliery.
Mrs Gleed added: “I think the hospice stayed with him because he knew what it was like down the mines here and knew how the town was running out of funding for those who needed help.”
“The hospice was the only charity Jimmy was involved with from conception and we are very saddened to hear the news.”