Savile fancy dress entry sparks free speech debate

Lauder, Scotland, Great Britain, Main Street . 31.07.2013. 'Lauder Common Riding 2013'Fancy Dress'''(Photo Credit: Rob Gray )
Lauder, Scotland, Great Britain, Main Street . 31.07.2013. 'Lauder Common Riding 2013'Fancy Dress'''(Photo Credit: Rob Gray )

Lauder Common Riding has defended its fancy dress parade after complaints over a Jimmy Savile prank.

Members of the Twenty10 Club took part under the name Jim’ll Fix It and dressed as the disgraced TV presenter as well as schoolgirls during last Wednesday’s contest.

The float won third prize in its section, but sparked a debate on the Common Riding’s Facebook page over free speech.

One complainer, Gregory Kynoch, wrote: “... in light of the events surrounding that program and the revelations since it I feel that was a step WAY over the line.”

And Margaret Ryles wrote: “I feel there was no respect for those who were abused by this very sick sick man.”

But Elaine Brotherstone, secretary of Lauder Common Riding, said it had no plans to vet entrants next year.

She told The Southern: “We have never censored anyone at the fancy dress and do not intend to. There was no offence intended and they were not trivialising what happened.

“It is about freedom of speech. People have the right to complain but don’t have the right to tell us what to do.”

Her views were supported by others who said fancy dress parades could be lost over fears of offending onlookers.

The Twenty10 Club was set up to encourage young men in Lauderdale to get involved in the Common Riding.