The story of ProfumoPosted: November 12, 2017
Shortly after his resignation Profumo began to work as a volunteer cleaning toilets at Toynbee Hall, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life. Peter Hitchens has written that Profumo “vanished into London’s East End for 40 years, doing quiet good works”. Profumo “had to be persuaded to lay down his mop and lend a hand running the place”, eventually becoming Toynbee Hall’s chief fundraiser, and used his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money. All this work was done as a volunteer, since Profumo was able to live on his inherited wealth. His wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, also devoted herself to charity until her death in 1998. In the eyes of most commentators, Profumo’s charity work redeemed his reputation. His friend, social reform campaigner Lord Longford said he “felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I’ve known in my lifetime”.
Profumo’s dedication and dignity won him enormous admiration from people in all walks of life. The author Peter Hennessy, a fellow trustee at a charitable foundation associated with Toynbee Hall, described him as “one of the nicest and most exemplary people I have met in public or political life; full of the old, decent Tory virtues”. Margaret Thatcher called him “one of our national heroes”. “Everybody here worships him”, a helper at Toynbee Hall was once quoted as saying. “We think he’s a bloody saint.”