Ex-firefigher and friend of Jimmy Savile on the sex abuse allegations
SEX abuse allegations emerging against Jimmy Savile have shattered a paralysed firefighter, who drew strength from him in his hour of need.
George Ridgeon did not see the alleged dark side of Jimmy Savile, remembering him only as a multi-million pound fundraiser and TV personality.
Savile became a friend to George, from Churchdown, before he died last year.
But recent revelations mean police are investigating allegations Savile sexually assaulted children and adults at care homes, hospitals and on BBC premises.
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"It's like the dream's been shattered," said George, who was introduced to Princess Diana by Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1981.
"He saved my life and did so much good for people, raised so much money for good causes, and now this.
"It's very upsetting. They are very serious allegations and it's a shock to me."
George snapped up Savile's sofa at auction during the summer, as well as memorabilia including Savile's running vest, London marathon medals and a suit he wore when they met Princess Diana.
George, who was paralysed during a failed rescue in London Road, Gloucester, when he was a firefighter, planned to sell off many of the items and donate the profits to a spinal injury unit.
"I don't know what to do with it all now," he said. "Some of it reminds me of good times.
"I would like to sell some of it if it will help other people."
George met Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital after sustaining injuries in the failed fire rescue.
"I was in hospital with a broken back and he walked in and effectively helped save my life."
He understands the serious nature of the allegations, more of which have emerged over the past two weeks, but wishes the former Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It presenter was still alive to answer the accusations.
He died on October 29 last year, aged 84.
"It is just terrible news, but he's not around to defend himself," said George.
"Going on what I have seen, he was not like that at all – there were a lot of people who did not do anything about it."
Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Savile abuse case and so far 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded but this number is increasing, police said.