Rolf Harris: shamed child abuser once welcomed to Dorset

Rolf Harris performing at Camp Bestival

Rolf Harris performing at Camp Bestival

First published in News
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TODAY he is a convicted child abuser, but for decades Rolf Harris was greeted with affection when he visited Dorset.

And while he might have seemed frail and elderly at Southwark Crown Court, four years ago he told the Daily Echo: “I just turned 80… I feel 35.”

Harris, who is due to be sentenced today, first visited Bournemouth in 1962, appearing in cabaret during a raucous Press Ball at the old Royal Ballrooms.

In 1975, he returned for a 16-week summer season at the Winter Gardens, showcasing his songs and artistic skills. When not performing, he drew crowds as he visited shops, signed records and autographs and played crazy golf.

That September, he told the Echo that he led a solitary life offstage. “I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. I’m not a great night man – I’d much rather go home to bed. At social events I stand around like a lemon wondering what to do with myself,” he said.

He said he found it “harrowing” to be in a theatre audience when the lights went up, all eyes turned on him and “you’ve got to be the nice guy”.

That same month, he visited a relative he discovered was living in Bournemouth’s Three Pines nursing home – 91-year-old Gertie Robson, his mother’s cousin.

Harris was back in the resort in 1985, when he was cast as Buttons in Cinderella at the Pavilion and switched on Bournemouth’s Christmas lights. His charity engagements during the season included meeting children at Talbot Combined School who had raised money for charities by playing Christmas carols.

In 1986, he made an educational film at Dorset Institute’s art college, and in May 1989 – with his TV series Rolf’s Cartoon Time about to win a new generation of fans – he presided over the opening of Poole’s refurbished Dolphin Centre.

His charity work saw him receive a £420 cheque from Poole PHAB (Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied) Club in 1998 as president of PHAB.

Yet another generation came to love Harris through his unlikely emergence as a rock festival favourite – performing six times at Glastonbury and at Dorset’s Camp Bestival in 2010.

Meanwhile, Harris’s career as an artist enjoyed a new lease of life as an artist after painting the Queen in 2005, and in 2010 a selection of his art was displayed at the Whitewall Gallery in Bournemouth’s Westover Road.

Asked by the Echo about the prints he would be showing there, he said he might take one of a little boy trying to feed a starling. The title, ironically enough, was Trust.

Comments (25)

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7:07am Fri 4 Jul 14

Huey says...

Urrrrgh
Urrrrgh Huey
  • Score: 4

7:08am Fri 4 Jul 14

Baysider says...

Wow! Who would have thought that an entertainer for the last 50 odd years would ever have visited Dorset in that short time? Thanks Echo.
Wow! Who would have thought that an entertainer for the last 50 odd years would ever have visited Dorset in that short time? Thanks Echo. Baysider
  • Score: 18

7:20am Fri 4 Jul 14

BIGTONE says...

Can you tell what it is yet?


3 years......
Can you tell what it is yet? 3 years...... BIGTONE
  • Score: 8

7:38am Fri 4 Jul 14

kirsty365 says...

He signed some of my art work in the 1986 Arndale Centre visit and have always said how horrible and rude/grumpy he was then.
He signed some of my art work in the 1986 Arndale Centre visit and have always said how horrible and rude/grumpy he was then. kirsty365
  • Score: 5

7:44am Fri 4 Jul 14

trolley says...

Wow ,cutting edge journalism,long time celebrity visited bournemouth
unrivalled reporting
Wow ,cutting edge journalism,long time celebrity visited bournemouth unrivalled reporting trolley
  • Score: 13

7:57am Fri 4 Jul 14

live-and-let-live says...

Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped. live-and-let-live
  • Score: -12

8:06am Fri 4 Jul 14

Hessenford says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Can you tell what it is yet?


3 years......
No but I could tell you what he is.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: Can you tell what it is yet? 3 years......[/p][/quote]No but I could tell you what he is. Hessenford
  • Score: 4

8:08am Fri 4 Jul 14

Huey says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
No the judge said if the crimes had been committed to day it would be assault by penetration and he would be looking at 6-9 years.
He did a lot more than grope a few girls.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.[/p][/quote]No the judge said if the crimes had been committed to day it would be assault by penetration and he would be looking at 6-9 years. He did a lot more than grope a few girls. Huey
  • Score: 13

8:41am Fri 4 Jul 14

Hessenford says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
So he did nothing wrong, just groped a few young girls, would you have the same view if it was your daughter.
There is no witch hunt going on, these so called celebrities have been charged after victims have come forward after all these years.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.[/p][/quote]So he did nothing wrong, just groped a few young girls, would you have the same view if it was your daughter. There is no witch hunt going on, these so called celebrities have been charged after victims have come forward after all these years. Hessenford
  • Score: 13

8:49am Fri 4 Jul 14

LordLilliput says...

What an odd and obscure article. A few lines gloating that he visited Dorset followed by a positive analysis of his good work, charity contributions and interviews with The Echo.

Way off the mark and very misguiding.
What an odd and obscure article. A few lines gloating that he visited Dorset followed by a positive analysis of his good work, charity contributions and interviews with The Echo. Way off the mark and very misguiding. LordLilliput
  • Score: 7

9:00am Fri 4 Jul 14

s-pb2 says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
So in your world sexually assaulting schoolgirls under the age of 10 is 'unpleasant', and the bigger crime here is not allowing popular celebrities to do whatever they like.

In my world 'unpleasant' is seeing a drunk throw up or having a burnt meal. What Harris did was is one of the most abhorrent and evil crimes known to man, the sexual abuse of children. I truly hope when he enters his prison this afternoon, he will never see the outside world again.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.[/p][/quote]So in your world sexually assaulting schoolgirls under the age of 10 is 'unpleasant', and the bigger crime here is not allowing popular celebrities to do whatever they like. In my world 'unpleasant' is seeing a drunk throw up or having a burnt meal. What Harris did was is one of the most abhorrent and evil crimes known to man, the sexual abuse of children. I truly hope when he enters his prison this afternoon, he will never see the outside world again. s-pb2
  • Score: 10

9:01am Fri 4 Jul 14

Hessenford says...

There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.
There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying. Hessenford
  • Score: 14

9:08am Fri 4 Jul 14

live-and-let-live says...

Hessenford wrote:
There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.
I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££
££££££££££
£££
[quote][p][bold]Hessenford[/bold] wrote: There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.[/p][/quote]I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££ ££££££££££ £££ live-and-let-live
  • Score: -11

9:12am Fri 4 Jul 14

neilf2006 says...

Live and let live .............. your comment shows a horrible and worrying disregard for decent behaviour. Harris is a child molester, is it ok by you for grown men to be child molesters - " like most men ?!!! "

Or are you just posting a wind-up?

Grrrrr .....
Live and let live .............. your comment shows a horrible and worrying disregard for decent behaviour. Harris is a child molester, is it ok by you for grown men to be child molesters - " like most men ?!!! " Or are you just posting a wind-up? Grrrrr ..... neilf2006
  • Score: 10

9:18am Fri 4 Jul 14

Hessenford says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Hessenford wrote:
There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.
I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££

££££££££££

£££
If you have been following this over the last couple of years you would have heard that most of the victims explained that they felt they wouldn't have been believed because of the offenders celebrity status.
Things were different in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Crimes of this nature were not nearly as widely discussed, and there was a more widespread tendency to dismiss allegations of abuse, especially if they came from children.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hessenford[/bold] wrote: There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.[/p][/quote]I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££ ££££££££££ £££[/p][/quote]If you have been following this over the last couple of years you would have heard that most of the victims explained that they felt they wouldn't have been believed because of the offenders celebrity status. Things were different in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Crimes of this nature were not nearly as widely discussed, and there was a more widespread tendency to dismiss allegations of abuse, especially if they came from children. Hessenford
  • Score: 13

9:35am Fri 4 Jul 14

TheDistrict says...

7 years. Stuart Hall pleaded guilty and got 2.5yrs, Max Clifford pleaded not guilty all through his trial, as did Rolf Harris. Max Clifford got 8yrs.

Oh yes Echo, I do not give two hoots about his past life, he no longer has my following, and no doubt many others.
7 years. Stuart Hall pleaded guilty and got 2.5yrs, Max Clifford pleaded not guilty all through his trial, as did Rolf Harris. Max Clifford got 8yrs. Oh yes Echo, I do not give two hoots about his past life, he no longer has my following, and no doubt many others. TheDistrict
  • Score: 4

10:52am Fri 4 Jul 14

elite50 says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
Obviously you were one of those creeps who "groped" young girls.
The difference being was that you were then (as you are now) a nobody who could get smashed by the 12 or 13 year olds father, brother or friend.
This serial groper used his fame to cover up what he did.
The sad part of this whole deal is that the vultures that were making a living out of his fame covered up for him over all of those years.
They should be prosecuted for covering his filthy life.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.[/p][/quote]Obviously you were one of those creeps who "groped" young girls. The difference being was that you were then (as you are now) a nobody who could get smashed by the 12 or 13 year olds father, brother or friend. This serial groper used his fame to cover up what he did. The sad part of this whole deal is that the vultures that were making a living out of his fame covered up for him over all of those years. They should be prosecuted for covering his filthy life. elite50
  • Score: 8

11:01am Fri 4 Jul 14

StVallier says...

There's satellite tv, a gaming station , swimming pool with jacuzzi, visits to local shops and three meals a day, can you tell what it is yet Rolf?
It's a prison, your home for the next few years, not a bad life is it?
Should put people off re offending!
There's satellite tv, a gaming station , swimming pool with jacuzzi, visits to local shops and three meals a day, can you tell what it is yet Rolf? It's a prison, your home for the next few years, not a bad life is it? Should put people off re offending! StVallier
  • Score: 5

11:11am Fri 4 Jul 14

s-pb2 says...

Hessenford wrote:
live-and-let-live wrote:
Hessenford wrote:
There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.
I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££


££££££££££


£££
If you have been following this over the last couple of years you would have heard that most of the victims explained that they felt they wouldn't have been believed because of the offenders celebrity status.
Things were different in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Crimes of this nature were not nearly as widely discussed, and there was a more widespread tendency to dismiss allegations of abuse, especially if they came from children.
Some victims did try and report it but were laughed off or ignored...until now.
[quote][p][bold]Hessenford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hessenford[/bold] wrote: There seem to be a few idiots on here today who find it acceptable to grope young girls and dismiss it as not serious, very worrying.[/p][/quote]I do not find his behaviour acceptable. but why did these abused people wait so long to speak out? ££££££££££ ££££££££££ £££[/p][/quote]If you have been following this over the last couple of years you would have heard that most of the victims explained that they felt they wouldn't have been believed because of the offenders celebrity status. Things were different in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Crimes of this nature were not nearly as widely discussed, and there was a more widespread tendency to dismiss allegations of abuse, especially if they came from children.[/p][/quote]Some victims did try and report it but were laughed off or ignored...until now. s-pb2
  • Score: 6

11:37am Fri 4 Jul 14

BournemouthMum says...

I must admit I had some sympathy for him until today when I read that there were also child **** pictures found on his computer and the charges were dropped before the court case - due to 'legal argument', he is very obviously a dirty old man who clearly sees young women and children as something of an object to satisfy his ****. Any sympathy I had for him went out of the window.

He deserves a hefty sentence more than most. My old gran used to say she didn't like him as 'you can't trust those types who always appear jolly and jokey as they're usually hiding a sinister side' - looks like she was right. Throw away the key.
I must admit I had some sympathy for him until today when I read that there were also child **** pictures found on his computer and the charges were dropped before the court case - due to 'legal argument', he is very obviously a dirty old man who clearly sees young women and children as something of an object to satisfy his ****. Any sympathy I had for him went out of the window. He deserves a hefty sentence more than most. My old gran used to say she didn't like him as 'you can't trust those types who always appear jolly and jokey as they're usually hiding a sinister side' - looks like she was right. Throw away the key. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 12

12:36pm Fri 4 Jul 14

bogtrotter says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what?
what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.
Are you Rolf's agent by any chance?
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: Rolf Harris will be found hanging from from a cell door soon. for what? what exactly, did he do? he didn't ever rape or murder. he groped a few young girls. just like most men did in those days. yes its wrong. its unpleasant. and that's all it was. this witch hunting is a dangerous game . it needs to be stopped.[/p][/quote]Are you Rolf's agent by any chance? bogtrotter
  • Score: 4

1:14pm Fri 4 Jul 14

elite50 says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
I must admit I had some sympathy for him until today when I read that there were also child **** pictures found on his computer and the charges were dropped before the court case - due to 'legal argument', he is very obviously a dirty old man who clearly sees young women and children as something of an object to satisfy his ****. Any sympathy I had for him went out of the window.

He deserves a hefty sentence more than most. My old gran used to say she didn't like him as 'you can't trust those types who always appear jolly and jokey as they're usually hiding a sinister side' - looks like she was right. Throw away the key.
The British are famous for loving animals.
These "touchy, feely", creeps pervade our society.
This particular one has got caught (after how many years?).
The Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris animals should never have been let off of a leash.
Lets hope that the victims of the next lot complain to the police before they get buried in the adulation of these so-called stars.
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: I must admit I had some sympathy for him until today when I read that there were also child **** pictures found on his computer and the charges were dropped before the court case - due to 'legal argument', he is very obviously a dirty old man who clearly sees young women and children as something of an object to satisfy his ****. Any sympathy I had for him went out of the window. He deserves a hefty sentence more than most. My old gran used to say she didn't like him as 'you can't trust those types who always appear jolly and jokey as they're usually hiding a sinister side' - looks like she was right. Throw away the key.[/p][/quote]The British are famous for loving animals. These "touchy, feely", creeps pervade our society. This particular one has got caught (after how many years?). The Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris animals should never have been let off of a leash. Lets hope that the victims of the next lot complain to the police before they get buried in the adulation of these so-called stars. elite50
  • Score: 3

1:20pm Fri 4 Jul 14

BIGTONE says...

I said he will do 3 years.
I said he will do 3 years. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Fri 4 Jul 14

rubberbandman5 says...

Strange old world - he was once lorded as the face of the RSPCA'S Animal Hospital............
....never thought that he would be the biggest abuser ever!
Strange old world - he was once lorded as the face of the RSPCA'S Animal Hospital............ ....never thought that he would be the biggest abuser ever! rubberbandman5
  • Score: 3

12:22pm Sat 5 Jul 14

guisselle says...

There are many that will be roaming free because its hard to admit to
being abused!
There are many that will be roaming free because its hard to admit to being abused! guisselle
  • Score: 0

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