Ow's about that then... guys and gals snap up Jimmy's 'jingle jangle'
Hundreds bid for Sir Jimmy Savile's unique clothes, including reporter Jonathan Brown
The trousers might come up a little short and shiny lavender is not everyone's idea of a stylish colour for a two piece "formal tracksuit" but at £65 plus VAT the prospect of owning a little piece of sartorial history was irresistible. So I bought it.
Sitting back in the famous Fix It chair after outbidding a rival for the tailored sportswear all I needed was an unlit Havana to recall the man in all his glory.
There can be little argument that Sir Jimmy Savile had something of a fetish for dressing up. It was a fact attested to yesterday at a charity auction of the late disc jockey's personal effects. More than half of the 550 lots were made up of his unique wardrobe tastes which had transformed Savile Hall at Leeds' Royal Armoury into a shimmering grotto of lame and leather. Some 300 people had turned up – joined by hundreds more on the internet – to bid for little and not so little keepsakes from Sir Jimmy's life.
At the top end of the price spectrum was a 2002 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible complete with personalised number plate, known as the Beast, which sold for £130,000 to an online bidder – too much for Sir Jimmy's friend of 48 years, Carnaby Street pioneer "Lord John" Warren, who had been hoping to snap it up for somewhere closer to the £60,000 reserve. "That was a bit over the top," said the celebrated 60s shop owner, who had dressed for the occasion in head-to-toe purple moleskin.
But equally sought after were the small mementos – the ashtrays, the string jogging vests and "jingle jangle" jewellery, the royal Christmas cards. And just as they did when thousands turned up to mourn him as he lay in state in a hotel in his native city of Leeds last year, many of those that came had a personal story to tell.
"I have always been a bit of a prat and Jimmy confirmed I was that," said former firefighter George Ridgeon, 68, who was draped in a Union Flag. He first met Sir Jimmy when he was recovering from a broken neck in Stoke Mandeville Hospital 30 years ago.
"The first thing he said to me was 'How can you tell a Scotsman's clan? Pull up his kilt and if he's got two quarter pounders then he's a McDonald'," he remembered.
Jill and Glyn Bradley had travelled from Lytham St Annes to buy one of the veteran charity fundraiser's exercise bikes. "We met him on the QE2 on a world cruise 20 years ago and he was absolutely lovely," said Mrs Bradley, 70, who suffers from arthritis in her feet. "It took me two weeks to pluck up the courage to ask to have my photo taken with him but he was completely charming. I'm going on another cruise in November so I'm hoping this will help me lose a bit of weight," she added.
Bidding was particularly fierce for a gold lame tracksuit, which was bought by Stuart Levin, chairman of the charity Make a Dream, which grants the wishes of terminally ill children. He paid £550 for the suit but was hoping to fetch at least twice when it was resold at auction. Sir Jimmy's nephew Roger Foster, a retired deputy headmaster, was watching the sale. He said interest in his late uncle's life continued to be intense. "There are a lot of people here who have fond memories of Jimmy for some reason or other and they are looking forward to bidding for something that will bring back that memory.
"I have mixed feelings – nostalgia and heartache. There are a lot of things that evoke memories but there are so many people here and it shows what they really thought of him," he said.
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