TRADITIONALLY at darts competitions, fancy dress is encouraged among audience members – and the more outrageous outfits are often the best received.
But ahead of one event in the Capital tonight, organisers have had to step in after hearing rumours that some members of the expected 425-strong crowd intended to arrive dressed as disgraced child abuser Jimmy Savile.
The fundraiser, in aid of Edinburgh Accies, Heriot’s and Watsonians rugby clubs, is due to be attended by darts legends including Eric Bristow, as well as former rugby internationalists such as Gavin Hastings, Duncan Hodge and Kenny Milne.
Organiser Struan Douglas was forced to issue a warning ahead of the much-anticipated event, to say that anyone adorned in replicas of Savile’s trademark tracksuit, cigar, medallions and flowing white locks would not be welcome.
The solicitor, who is a senior partner at Haymarket-based Purdie and Co, said in his message to potential crowd members: “It has been brought to my attention that there has been some talk (hopefully a very poor taste joke) that some people are considering coming in fancy dress as Jimmy Savile.
“I can categorically say that this would meet with complete disapproval of most and therefore is not acceptable. We do not want to ruin a fantastic evening.”
On the event’s Facebook page, he pleaded with club members to “show some decorum”, adding: “I know that there has been a bit of harmless banter going about fancy dress comments etc which is fine.
“I do, however, want to stress though that we do not want to spoil a great night by dressing as something that may be considered inappropriate by some or indeed all, so please keep it tasteful.”
Teams from three of the clubs are due to play doubles with the darts legends in round robin matches during the event, which is also set to be attended by Musselburgh darts ace Gary Anderson.
Tickets for the evening at the Corn Exchange, called the enrolme.co.uk Legends of Darts competition, cost £20, with tables of ten in a premium area selling for £395.
Frank Spratt, executive chairman of Edinburgh Accies, said he hoped that none of the club’s members would go too far by dressing as Savile, who Scotland Yard said may have sexually abused 300 victims.
Mr Spratt said: “I haven’t heard anything about this at all. Personally I think it would be inappropriate, but it’s not for me to dictate how people dress. It’s up to the players how they behave, but I hope they behave properly.”
The News revealed yesterday that two women from Edinburgh had contacted police to make formal complaints against Savile over unrelated incidents that took place in the 1970s, when the former DJ, who died last year aged 84, was at the height of his fame. Lothian and Borders Police officers have passed statements from the pair to the Metropolitan Police.
Savile, who owned a cottage in Glencoe, was a regular visitor to the Capital, having attended the Edinburgh Science Festival in 1994 where he met youngsters, and backed a campaign to save Jody the lioness at Edinburgh Zoo in 1999.
In 2001, he raised £1000 for The Salvation Army while promoting the Edinburgh City Challenge Road Race, took part in a parade in Princes Street in 2007 and was a regular supporter of the city’s annual Christmas charity walk.