Published on 28 Dec 2012 Sections ,

Jimmy Savile’s ‘love’ for Margaret Thatcher

A note written by Jimmy Savile declaring his love for Margaret Thatcher shows how he tried to enlist support for a hospital where he is known to have abused vulnerable people.

Jimmy Savile's letter to Margaret Thatcher (pic: Reuters)

In what will now appear to be chilling references, Savile refers in the letter to the excitement of his “girl patients” and “paralyzed (sic) lads” at Stoke Mandeville Hospital following his lunch with Thatcher in 1980.

The letter is among a series of previously secret files released to the National Archives in Kew, west London and show the former Top Of The Pops presenter’s communications with the then-prime minister as he tried to enlist support for his work to renovate Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The DJ, awarded a knighthood in 1990 for charitable services, received widespread praise for his work with the hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

But it has since emerged to be one of a series of places where Savile preyed on vulnerable people, abusing them over decades.

Hundreds of abuse allegations

An ITV documentary aired on 4 October prompted hundreds of people across the country to come forward about the abuse they say they suffered at Savile’s hands.

Before the revelations the late DJ was hailed by many as a hero for his seemingly tireless charitable work.

In his letter to Thatcher the star spoke of the reaction of his “girl patients” and “paralyzed lads” to his lunch date with her.

Hand-written on “Jim’s ‘Daily Dozen’ paper”, it bears the address Flat 84, 22 Park Crescent, W1.

It reads: “Dear Prime Minister. I waited a week before writing to thank you for my lunch invitation because I had such a superb time I didn’t want to be too effusive.

“My girl patients pretended to be madly jealous + wanted to know what you wore + what you ate.

‘They all love you’

“All the paralyzed lads called me ‘Sir James’ all week.

“They all love you. Me too!!

“Jimmy Savile OBE xxx.”

The previously unseen documents reveal Savile’s regular communications with Thatcher and Number 10, including his request for a government contribution to Stoke Mandeville.

In one, the prime minister is asked by one of her staff to confirm that she did not promise Savile she would appear on Jim’ll Fix It.

‘Did you say you would appear on Jim’ll Fix It?’

In the message dated March 9 1981, after the DJ attended lunch with Thatcher at Chequers, personal secretary Caroline Stephens wrote: “Can you kindly let me know if you made any promises to Jimmy Savile when he lunched with you yesterday, for instance:
“(i) Did you offer him any money for Stoke Mandeville?
“(ii) Did you tell him that you would appear on Jim’ll Fix It?”

The first question is annotated by hand by Thatcher, saying: “will tell you in detail. MT”, while next to the second is a simple “no”.

The file also reveals a discussion on Savile’s suggestions about tax deductions for charitable donations.

In a letter in February 1980, Number 10 private secretary Mike Pattison wrote to Martin Hall at the Treasury saying that while at Number 10 for an NSPCC presentation ceremony, Savile asked Thatcher about deductions.

The PM suggested that the seven-year covenant system could be a “disincentive” and that three years might be more reasonable, the letter said.

It emerged there were already plans to shorten the period to four years in the impending Finance Bill, and Thatcher informed Savile after the change was announced in the budget.

Government contribution to hospital

The following year there were discussions about Savile’s suggestion of a government contribution to Stoke Mandeville.

In January 1981 Mr Pattison told Health Minister Dr Gerard Vaughan’s private secretary that Savile met with Thatcher with the hospital’s plans and suggested a “Government grant” as a goodwill gesture.

“The Prime Minister said was he thinking of a million pounds and Mr Savile replied that they would be grateful for any sum, and that there was absolutely no hurry at all, and that equally he would understand if she had to come back to him and say that this was not possible,” he wrote.

The matter is debated in further letters as where the money should come from is discussed.

In December 1981 it was decided the Government would give £500,000 to the Stoke Mandeville Appeal.

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