Pop star turned Anglican priest, comments on the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LONDON (ANS) – The Reverend Cindy Kent, a former pop star, BBC presenter and now an Anglican priest, has stepped forward with her memories of Sir Jimmy Savile, the popular British TV and radio host and DJ whom it has been alleged had sexually abused “at least 300 victims” on BBC property as well as in schools and hospitals where he volunteered.
The situation for the esteemed BBC was made worse when reports surfaced that, last, December they cancelled a segment which contained the underage claims about Savile, who died last year at the age of 84.
The scandal which is rocking Great Britain, and has thrown the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) into crisis, came about after media claims that many of the girls Savile, who was a fixture on British TV with his peroxide hair, track suit and constant cigar in his mouth, was alleged to have assaulted were underage.
One UK journalist has described it as “the worst crisis” the BBC has faced in the last 50 years.
I managed to track down Cindy Kent, who was once the lead singer with the popular British folk group, The Settlers, and was a regular guest on Jimmy Savile’s BBC Radio show called “Speakeasy” which always began with the theme song, “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters, and dealt with serious issues such as war, education, health and religion and politics.
She was on vacation in Sri Lanka from her present role as an Anglican priest in North London, and agreed to share with me by e-mail her recollections of Savile.
“Jimmy Savile used to call me ‘Cindy legs’ and we did the radio show Speakeasy, which he hosted, several times,” she began.
“Everyone knew he was a letch [someone with a strong sexual desire or craving] and his mobile home which he travelled the country in was talked about as ‘rocking most of the night’.
“I couldn’t say that I knew they were underage girls, but he was known for liking them young. I’m not condoning it, but it was a different time and attitudes were different then.”
“For instance, we [The Settlers] used to work with a session bass player, who has since become a Christian, and he used to place both his hands on my breasts and say, ‘I wonder if I can tune into Radio Luxembourg’! I protested, but it was always laughed off as, ‘Oh, it’s just his bit of fun’.”
Cindy Kent went on to say, “I’m horrified at the revelation of cover up at the Beeb (BBC) which are coming out and feel sad that such a loved and honored institution can have got it so wrong.
“On the payola scandal [the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day's broadcast], again people knew it went on and was considered part of the perks of the job. The Settlers, and me in particular, we’re once cited in a News of the World article about the sex parties.
“We ran it by our solicitor [attorney’ but because it didn’t actually name me, just said something like ‘lead singer of the folk group who are regularly on the God Slot TV’ – we couldn’t sue.
“Hey ho, back to the beach!” she concluded.
Cindy Kent, who comes originally from West Bromwich in the English Midlands, left The Settlers to “pursue other avenues”. In a complete change of career, she “fell in love” with radio and moved into broadcasting initially with BBC Radio 4, presenting features on the “Sunday Programme,” a national show that covered all kinds of aspects of religious life in Britain.
She then went on to work for several other radio stations, the last of which was Premier Christian Radio in London.
Now Cindy has left broadcasting and is currently the Priest-in-Charge at St. John the Apostle Church in North London, after being ordained in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
On a personal note, each year my newspaper, the Sunday People, held a Christmas party and Jimmy Savile, who wrote a column for us, was always a fixture there. He would go around the room and kiss the hands of all the females, including my wife Norma, which always made her laugh. Besides that, he behaved very well and so these revelations come as a big shock to me and are a sad reflection on the life of a man who brought so much joy to so many listeners and viewers.
Now there are calls that Sir Jimmy Savile’s knighthood given by Queen Elizabeth in 1990 should be posthumously removed. The National Society for the Protection of Children (NSPCC) has said that it would support its removal.
A spokesman for the organization said: “It’s clear he was not the man people thought they knew when he was knighted.”
At present knighthoods cannot be removed posthumously.