Like Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith was perceived as a hero by the British public and this is again due to the fact that the mainstream media at the time presented him as a hero.
BBC reported his funeral
His friend Lord Alton said he received a letter from Sir Cyril after his death telling him he must read the poem Death Is Nothing At All.
“He was a brilliant political organiser,” he told the congregation, after reading the Canon Henry Scott Holland poem.
“He was a remarkable man, a wonderful man, a great friend and we shall all miss him greatly.”
Sir Cyril was famously outspoken and could be disdainful of Westminster, once branding Parliament as “the longest-running farce in the West End”.
According to Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, the politician commanded huge affection within the party.
Speaking after the service, he said: “When I got elected as the youngest Liberal MP, he became an uncle figure offering advice, being there to say ‘that’s good lad’ or telling me off and putting me on the right lines.
“He was somebody who gave people tough love, he knew that sometimes if you were to benefit he had to give you a talking to, but he had really clear, high standards and principles.
“But above all he remembered he came from Rochdale and was in politics to help people from the bottom up, to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and help make Britain a fairer place.”
Sir Cyril was knighted in 1988 and was awarded the MBE in 1966, when he also served as mayor of Rochdale.
He retired from Westminster in 1992.
Below is a report on his 80th birthday bash in which Nick Clegg “passes his best wishes” to the well known paedophile at the time.
He said: “You were a beacon for our party in the 70s and 80s and continue to be an inspiration for the people of Rochdale and many others.”
Local party officials have also set up a birthday tribute page on the social networking website, Facebook, for people to leave their best wishes the BBC also reported.
The Daily Mirror do mention the allegations in this article but I notice the article was updated in September 2012, I would not be surprised if the original article had no reference to the sexual abuse allegations.
The man who brought a wider dimension to the role of celebrity MP was being remembered as a rare political character last night.
Sir Cyril Smith, who died yesterday aged 82, was a larger-than-life figure often billed as the biggest thing to come out of Rochdale since Gracie Fields.
Born in the Lancashire town in 1928, he was its Liberal MP from 1972 until his retirement 20 years later.
He became one of the best known MPs as much for his huge 25 stone girth as his flamboyant personality – once describing Parliament as “the longestrunning farce in the West End”.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg paid a warm tribute last night but some will also recall Sir Cyril had a darker side.
He had faced calls to be stripped of his knighthood over his dealings with asbestos producer Turner & Newall.
The Mirror’s Kevin Maguire, who broke the story, said: “I’ll shed no crocodile tears. Cyril Smith was in the pocket of the asbestos industry.
“The fatal fibres were killing his constituents, the local Turner & Newall factory a death machine.
“Instead of standing up for them the Liberal MP asked the bosses to write his speeches in the House of Commons.
“Smith wasn’t just unrepentant when I confronted him with the evidence a couple of years ago. He was brazen.
“No wonder a dozen MPs later demanded he lose his knighthood.
“Then there are the sexual abuse allegations which swirled around Smith. I don’t know the truth and hesitate to repeat them when he’s just died.
“But I note Smith didn’t sue when they surfaced in print 31 years ago.
“Nice one, Cyril? No.”
Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg said: “Cyril Smith was one of the most recognisable and likeable politicians of his day.
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his death and offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends. Go to Daily Mirror to read more. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sir-cyril-smith-dies-aged-245375
Apparently the Sun did not report the story or have removed it as their report on his funeral cannot be found.