"It's common knowledge that Jimmy Savile with his fundraising had this sort of status as a hero, albeit an eccentric hero, for quite a long time," Dunton said.
Savile's goals were serious. He was trying to persuade the prime minister to lessen the amount of time required before a charity could receive tax exempt status, and also lobbying Thatcher to make a governmental contribution to one of his favorite projects — the rebuilding of a spinal injuries unit at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
A 1981 Department of Health and Social Security memo suggests that a governmental contribution to the enterprise might be a good idea because the Savile money-raising appeal "has attracted the enthusiasm of people from all walks of life."
In notes to Thatcher, her staff asks the prime minister to clarify any personal commitments she might have made to Savile when he visited her country residence.
The staff also asks if Thatcher had agreed to appear on Savile's show, "Jim'll Fix It." She answers with a handwritten "No."