‘I’m still paying price for Savile’s crimes’ – Sandy community worker Ken Lynch says he still feels shunned by some after he once defended disgraced star

Ken Lynch

Ken Lynch - Credit: Archant

A photographer and community worker says he is still paying the price for comments he made about the late Jimmy Savile when the former DJ was first investigated as a paedophile.

Ken Lynch, who lives in Sandy, helped raise thousands of pounds for the £10 million campaign started by Savile in the 1980s to build a spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire.

When Savile first faced allegations of paedophilia in the national media in 2012, Mr Lynch was so shocked he went on the record as saying the former star was innocent.

But after a damning 2015 report found that Savile – who had almost unlimited access to Stoke Mandeville as a result of his charity work – had abused 63 people there, including children under 12, Mr Lynch was so disgusted that he burnt all his Savile memorabilia.

Now, a year on, Mr Lynch says some people who used to be friendly still avoid him, and that until recently he had still been receiving phone calls in the middle of the night which he suspects are from people who still can’t forgive him for proclaiming that the disgraced star was innocent.

“Because of the Savile appeal, there are some people who don’t talk to me,” Mr Lynch told the Comet this week.

“I accept that because really he was a right s**tbag.

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“I tried to stay in the background and my job was to do publicity.

“Then it all came up on TV and I thought it couldn’t be true, so I foolishly put a letter in the paper defending him.”

Mr Lynch still believes the spinal unit was a worthwhile outcome, albeit now tainted by Savile’s crimes.

He said: “At the end of the day, I am happy that now there is a wonderful spinal unit for people with injuries.

“I feel satisfied that my little part in it was worthwhile.

“As far as I’m concerned I’m completely innocent. I’m just an ordinary person.

“Last century he was the worst person that existed. He fooled Margaret Thatcher and the Pope, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana thought he was wonderful.

“He fooled everybody. I met him quite a few times as I went to Stoke Mandeville to take photographs of events and the opening of the unit. He treated me nicely as he did with everybody.

“When I used to see him on TV after he was convicted I used to close my eyes, but now for me it’s water under the bridge and I’ve got to get on with my life.”

Mr Lynch was part of the ‘Stick a Brick’ fundraising campaign, organised on behalf of the Jimmy Savile Charity Appeal, which raised thousands of pounds for the spinal unit.

Around 100 limited edition bricks made bearing the fleur-de-lys crest of the Prince of Wales were specially created to commemorate the International Year of the Disabled.

Mr Lynch has one of the bricks in his house and has said he will not have it removed because it represents the success of the fundraising campaign.

In January 2013, a joint report by the NSPCC and Metropolitan Police stated that 450 people had made complaints against Savile, with the period of alleged abuse stretching from 1955 to 2009 and the ages of the complainants at the time of the assaults ranging from eight to 47.

The suspected victims included 28 children aged under 10, including 10 boys aged as young as eight.