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Cliff thanks Irish fans for ‘very special’ welcome

Sir Cliff Richard (Niall Carson/PA)
Sir Cliff Richard (Niall Carson/PA)

Sir Cliff Richard has thanked his Irish fans for always making him feel special as he embarked on his 60th anniversary tour.

The singer chose Ireland for his first appearances since his high-profile legal battle with the BBC.

“Dubliners have always made me feel welcome here but that was very special, thank you very much,” he said after receiving rapturous applause at Dublin’s 3 Arena on Saturday night.

The crooner said the welcome was extra special because he had not played at the 3 Arena, formerly the Point Theatre, on the River Liffey, for years.

Sir Cliff Richard on stage in Dublin
Sir Cliff Richard on stage in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“I haven’t been here in a long, long time so it makes it special for me that you’d welcome me in that way.”

He told the enthusiastic crowd he sometimes gets apprehensive, but he was “really nervous” on the opening night of his tour in Killarney, Co Kerry, on Thursday.

The Killarney INEC gig marked the beginning of Sir Cliff’s 58-18=60th Tour, celebrating the 103 album releases and 123 singles over his career.

The 77-year-old singer sued the BBC over coverage of a 2014 police raid on his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, following a child sex assault allegation.

Mr Justice Mann ruled in Sir Cliff’s favour in July following a trial at the High Court in London, and refused to grant the BBC permission to appeal.

The singer was awarded £210,000 damages after the judge found the coverage was a “very serious” invasion of his privacy.

Sir Cliff denied the allegation, was never arrested and in June 2016 prosecutors announced he would face no charges.

The BBC did not challenge the court ruling after losing the case.

Sir Cliff entertained the audience with a series of hits from the 1950s to the present day, including Peggy Sue, Living Doll, Miss You Nights, the Minute You’re Gone and Saviour’s Day.

He joked with fans that his career had begun in the 1950s but he did not suppose any of them would have been around back then.

He dedicated one of his number one hits from the 1960s to everyone under the age of 78 in the audience.

The crowd erupted into song as Sir Cliff sang Mistletoe And Wine, From A Distance and Dream.

The tour continues with a gig in Belfast on Sunday and a series of concerts across the UK and Denmark throughout October.

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