Jimmy Savile’s Edinburgh niece reveals torment at discovering abuse case revelations

Pam Ward with family photos. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Pam Ward with family photos. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Have your say

A NIECE of Jimmy Savile has spoken of how she cried for a week after hearing claims her uncle had abused hundreds of girls and young women.

Pam Ward, from Edinburgh, said she had been left in turmoil over the recent revelations about the shamed BBC figure.

Pam Ward's father, John Savile, with his famous brother Jimmy

Pam Ward's father, John Savile, with his famous brother Jimmy

The 66-year-old said the allegations had left the family reeling and feeling like they will “never get over it”.

“It was disbelief at first,” she said of the sex scandal that has rocked Britain. “It’s like I’ve lived a sheltered life and never known any of these things were going on.”

In an exclusive interview with the Evening News today, the married mum-of-four said she feels ashamed of what her uncle allegedly did.

“The first week, well I practically spent the first week crying”, said Mrs Ward, speaking at her home in Trinity.

“I’ve been sent lots of flowers, had phone calls and cards, with people offering support.

“It’s nothing to do with me, but in a sense I feel ashamed. I’m sure it’s the same with the rest of the family, although I wouldn’t like to speak for them.

“Everyone has been talking about all the awful stuff. The good work he committed himself to all his life has been quickly forgotten.

“What can I say, what would you say to the victims if it was your relative?”

To date officers are following more than 400 lines of inquiry. Former glam rocker Gary Glitter – real name Paul Gadd, 68 – has been arrested in connection with the same investigation.

As the Evening News exclusively revealed last week, Lothian and Borders Police is handling claims from women that they were abused at the hands of Savile.

Mrs Ward said how she and her husband Tony watched the allegations with horror when they were first broadcast.

She said: “My husband and I watched the Panorama programme and it was disbelief at first. All these women who have come forward.

“I don’t think the family will ever get over it really.”

Mrs Ward was 43 when she discovered that Savile was her long-lost uncle.

Adopted at 18 months, she waited until her adoptive parents had died before starting to search for her birth parents. It was then she discovered her father was John Henry Savile, known as Johnny – Jimmy’s older brother.

It has been reported in recent weeks that Johnny Savile was sacked from the Springfield Psychiatric Hospital in Tooting, London, over claims he assaulted a patient.

Mrs Ward had cut ties with her father in the years before his death in 1998, but said she was completely unaware of the allegations until they were reported in a Sunday newspaper on October 14.

Despite the claims against Jimmy Savile, who died aged 84 this time last year, she said she still found it difficult to speak ill of him. She said she had only known him as “a kind and charismatic character”.

She attended his funeral in Leeds last October in no small part due to the good deeds he’d done for her while working as an auxiliary nurse at the St Columba’s Hospice in north Edinburgh.

She said: “I used to ask him to post his picture and autograph with a brief message for the kids at St Columba’s and he would never let us down.

“I worked at St Columba’s for 22 years and I used Jimmy to raise its profile. He used to send signed cards and we posted him a cancer band which he wore to support the hospice.

“I believe he phoned up to thank us because he couldn’t visit in person.

“He came across as an eccentric doing good in public, and to his family he was just a nice man. All that has been destroyed in three or four weeks.”

The walls of her home remain decorated with several of her uncle Jimmy’s pictures, which Mrs Ward has felt unable to take down.

“Hopefully in years to come they will look back at some of the good work he did, but I understand it’s pretty unlikely,” she added.