To Sir Jimmy Savile, one reporter was more than just part of the press pack.
Alison Bellamy was a friend, and spent years of her career following the eccentric personality’s antics across Leeds and beyond.
Now Alison, who lives in Batley and is formerly from Dewsbury, has written his official biography How’s About That Then?, with the blessing of his family and friends.
The mum-of-two, a reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post since 1997, was the last person to interview him before his death in October last year.
The pair would often have lunch together and Sir Jimmy even visited her on the maternity ward after the birth of her first daughter, now four. At his funeral at Leeds Cathedral in November last year, Alison was asked to do a reading as a representative of the media.
She said: “Over the years I covered all his stories and his charity fundraising. We got on really well and he trusted me.
“The last interview was four days before he died. He was very frail then.”
She was later asked by Great Northern Books to pen his biography.
“I knew I could do a good job and I’d rather I did it than someone in London,” she said.
“It’s been quite a marathon. I wrote the book in four and a half months, at night after the kids went to bed.”
The biography includes new details about Sir Jimmy’s life, including interviews with former girlfriends, details about his relationships with the royals and a close-up look at his frugal millionaire’s lifestyle, as well as his infamous cigars and bling.
Alison, 40, said Sir Jimmy loved attention from the media.
“He loved publicity,” she said. “It helped him generate £40m for charity.”
The reporter said she could have easily written more than one biography about the star’s life and legacy, from presenting Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It to his extensive charity fundraising.
“He crammed so much into his 84 years,” she added.
“He was just a one off, really, there was no-one like him.
“All kinds of people from all ages and classes seemed to love him.”