Jimmy Savile’s private letters to Margaret Thatcher edited after abuse claims
Censored, Savile’s private letters to Mrs Thatcher: Files edited two months ago… AFTER child abuse claims surfaced
Letter from Jimmy Savile to former PM released under 30-year rule
Declares his love for her in gushing 1980 note written following a lunch
Also refers to his ‘girl patients’ and says ‘they all love you’
But other correspondence between the two has been censored
Savile spent 11 consecutive New Year’s Eves with Mrs Thatcher
By Claire Ellicott
PUBLISHED: 00:04, 28 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:13, 28 December 2012
A letter thought to mark the beginning of the warm relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Savile has been made public for the first time.
But other correspondence between the pair has been censored, raising questions over what it contains.
The Top Of The Pops presenter sent an adoring letter to the then prime minister in 1980, singing her praises and declaring his love for her.
She responded by inviting the now-disgraced DJ to lunch at Chequers, spending 11 consecutive New Year’s Eves with him and overseeing his knighthood.
The letter, part of a Savile file released under the 30-year rule by the National Archives at Kew today, reveals how well connected to the establishment he was.
But parts of some exchanges between Savile and Mrs Thatcher were censored in October this year – eight days after claims that he had sexually abused people surfaced in an ITV documentary.
The text of a letter from Savile to Mrs Thatcher and a phone message that he left for her were deleted from the file under the Freedom of Information Act on October 11.
The information is exempt because it is ‘personal’ or ‘confidential’.
But the timing raises the question of whether the information was redacted in light of the negative headlines.
Correspondence remaining in the file includes the gushing letter Savile sent to Mrs Thatcher after a lunch meeting to discuss funding for Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
In it, he also hints at becoming a knight, something arranged during Mrs Thatcher’s tenure and awarded in the New Year’s Honours in 1990, a month after she left office.
The letter reads: ‘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 and wanted to know what you wore and what you ate. All the paralysed lads called me “Sir James” all week. They all love you. Me too!!’
The note, written in February 1980, is signed with kisses and bears Savile’s distinctive signature, with a smiley face in the J of his name.
There is no record of Mrs Thatcher’s reply, but a later memo to her from her personal secretary asks in a worried tone whether she has agreed to appear on Jim’ll Fix It.
In the message dated March 9, 1981, after the DJ had lunch with Mrs Thatcher at Chequers, 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?’
In felt pen, Mrs Thatcher replies to the first saying: ‘Will tell you in detail. MT.’ To the second, she simply writes: ‘No.’
Praised during his life for his charity work, especially at Stoke Mandeville, Savile has now been unmasked as a serial child abuser.
More than 450 people have made allegations of abuse by the DJ, who died last year aged 84.
The papers released by the National Archive today include an entire Savile file devoted to his correspondence with Mrs Thatcher and her aides about his charity work and pleas for Government money for his projects.
There are also a number of redactions made in October – other files released today were edited much earlier in the year.
In the 1981 section of the file, there are discussions about Savile’s suggestion of a Government contribution to Stoke Mandeville during a meeting with Mrs Thatcher.
No 10 private secretary Mike Pattison wrote: ‘The Prime Minister said was he thinking of a million pounds and Mr Savile replied that they would be grateful for any sum.’
In December 1981, the Government announced that it would give £500,000 to the Stoke Mandeville Appeal.