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Fossil Obit: RIP Sir Jimmy Savile of BBC [2011] (533* d) RE: 2011 Obit: RIP Sir Jimmy Savile of BBC 03 Dec 12


One of the more "interesting" (in the sense of thank-God-that's-over-now let's-go-for-a-pint)days was spent delivering a large, photgenic cheque for 1,000 UK pounds to Jimmy Savile at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. By microlight aircraft. With me wearing a Santa suit and woolly beard. The cheque was the proceeds of a fund-raiser by the Southern Hang Gliding Club, in (I think, 1977)

It was a freezing cold day with snow on the ground and a turbulent northeasterly wind. My pilot was the famous Keith Reynolds, then British Hang-gliding league champion. The idea was to fly into the football field at the hospital and deliver the cheque in front of the waiting media.

Neither of us had seen the field until we arrived over it at about 1,000 feet. It was a daunting proposition. Not only was it covered in snow, but the goalposts were in situ, and a high railway embankment ran along one side of it and a large warehouse occupied one other side. It would be like landing at the bottom of a bucket.

I well remember flying up a road between two large buildings at below rooftop height. I remember Keith doing a heavily-banked turn some five feet above a car roof. I remember a high fence with barbed wire on the top of it passing some two feet below the microlight's wheels, then the engine noise dying away as we floated in to a perfect landing in the snow, diagonally between the goalposts.

And I remember handing the cheque to J.S. and then getting a tour of the hospital's spinal injuries facility - one of the most depressing places I have ever seen.

Pity that these memories, which I have always felt slightly proud of, should now be tarnished by the subsequent revelations of what J.S. was really like and what he was up to. I never saw him again, thank goodness.


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