Jimmy Saville back to see old friends

FORTY years after his first visit to Cragg Vale Sir Jimmy Savile was "fixing it" for church members.

He called at the Church of St John in the Wilderness, Cragg Vale, to visit parishioners he has helped since 1967.

During the day he made an impromptu dress change and wore the same gown he had worn 40 years ago when he gave a sermon at the church.

Church member Doris Hirst, said: "I can't believe he still has that, I thought he must have got rid of it by now."

Over the years the former Top of the Pops presenter and Radio One DJ has raised thousands of pounds for the church through his fundrasing efforts.

Mrs Hirst, said: "This is just his way of commemorating what he has done for us for all these years.

"It is just nice to know that he has not forgotten us. Over the years I think he has become more of a friend and an extension to the family for many of us."

Sir Jimmy, who is 81, was knighted in 1990. He is from Leeds but has long established links with Calderdale.

He once completed a 10 mile sponsored walk throughout the Calder Valley raising vital funds for groups in the borough.

He said: "I have to say after 40 years many of these people are now more than friends, they are also like family.

"I first came down here to help the church find a vicar and soon after was appointed church warden for my efforts. There has been no better pull for me to keep coming back."

Speaking about the possible sale of the Sunday School at St John's Centre, he said that he was sure that locals would get up and fight to keep it open.

He said: "I will be behind them in whatever they do. If the community want to keep this place open they will have to fight for it."

Sir Jimmy spent the afternoon at the church reminiscing with photographs and food before attending a service.