By Sam Whyte
THE SEX scandal surrounding television icon Sir Jimmy Savile could sink plans to turn his Glencoe cottage into a retreat for the disabled.
A spokesman for the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust said that the allegations of child abuse had put the scheme “in limbo”.
The warning follows the decision of Surrey Police to refer a historic rape allegations to the Metropolitan Police. Officers in Jersey in the Channel Islands are also investigating an allegation of sex abuse against the star. And the BBC has said it is “horrified” by the claims, due to be aired tonight.
It also emerged today that a life-size wooden statue of the late Top Of The Pops presenter has been removed from Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Glasgow. A spokesman said it was “appropriate to move the statue at this time”.
The remote Alt-na-Reigh cottage in the Highlands was spotted by Savile when he cycled past it in his teens – he bought it 54 years later in 1998 for £125,000.
Sir Jimmy died on 29 October 2011 at the age of 84 and the cottage was said to be just as he left it with a cigar still sitting in an ashtray beside his armchair.
It was reported in August that the house, which is a mile away from any other property, would be converted to ‘Jimmy’s at Glencoe’ – a retreat for the disabled.
Trustee Sir Roger Bodley, who was overseeing the conversion of the Highland property, said: “These allegations will do a great deal of harm to the work the charitable trusts are planning.
“The first thing to say would be that neither I nor any other of the trustees have any idea whether the allegations are true or false.
“If they are true then the activity by anyone cannot be condoned, whatever their position, and is bitterly disappointing.”
He added: “However, that said, there is nothing that I have heard that makes me believe they might be true.
“In all this, the definite fact that can be stated is that his two charitable trusts have already supported several very effective projects, as well as being about to support the conversion of his cottage in Glencoe for use by the disabled.
“Projects that are overwhelmingly beneficial to the community but which will be gravely curtailed by adverse publicity that we believe cannot be proven.”
The proposed conversion of Alt-na-Reigh was revealed after an auction of the star’s possessions in Leeds.
The Trust bought a sword and shield at the auction for £700 and at the time Sir Brodley said: “We are hoping to put these items on the wall at his Glencoe cottage which we are going to convert into a retreat for disabled people.
“It will be called Jimmy’s at Glencoe.”
The Trust has raised more than £40million since it started in 1985 and was left a further £5m after Sir Jimmy died on 29 October 2011.
Bren Gormley, an SNP Lochaber councillor who met the DJ at a number of events, said: “No one could ever condone the things he’s accused of, but regardless of what he did in his private life he did a lot of fundraising and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.
“If the conversion of his property in Glencoe is put in jeopardy because of this then that is terribly sad – I’m sure the charitable trust must be in a tailspin right now.”