Cliff Richard thanks fans who stuck by him at 60th anniversary tour

Sir Cliff Richard back on song as he thanks fans who stuck by him through two-year false sex abuse claims during 60th anniversary tour performance

Sir Cliff Richard thanked his loyal fans during a performance at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

They had come from around the world, showing support with badges, T-shirts and decades-old memorabilia.

And naturally Sir Cliff Richard displayed his gratitude for the loyalty of his legendary followers.

The singer, who turns 78 on Sunday, put his hand on his heart as, misty-eyed, he gestured his love for the fans rocking in the aisles at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Sir Cliff’s 60th anniversary tour is his first since his two-year ordeal following false claims of historical sex abuse and a high-profile legal battle with the BBC.

At one point during Wednesday night’s show, he was almost mobbed by the crowd, who included veterans of his gigs in the 1950s and 60s.

Elderly fans danced in front of the stage as if they were teenagers. Others who were more frail, including some with walking frames, swayed along in their seats as Sir Cliff, in effervescent form, belted out hits from his 60-year career

Many wore eye-catching outfits, including Dawn Williams-Barnes, 60, from Flintshire. She set up the Pink Army, an unofficial fan club which has hundreds of members, ‘to show our support’ when the abuse allegations were made in 2014.

Fans (left to right) Tracy Whittingham from Midlands, Sarah Grallert, 28, from Dusseldoff in Germany, Jan Easthaugh, 68, from Ottawa in Canada, Joan McCallaster, 72, from Cheshire, Lesley Barker, 73, from Wales and Sarah James, 41, from Norfolk show their support for the singer who is currently on his 60th anniversary tour

Hundreds of excited fans came out to support Cliff at his first tour since his two-year ordeal following false claims of historical sex abuse and a high-profile legal battle with the BBC

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She went to her first Cliff gig in 1979, while on her honeymoon, and on Wednesday night compared T-shirts with Paul Dyer, 34, who had probably travelled furthest for the show – he and his partner Matthew Berridge, 27, are from Auckland, New Zealand.

The singer performed all his hits including Move It, Living Doll, Summer Holiday, The Millennium Prayer and Mistletoe And Wine

Paul runs an online radio station playing Sir Cliff’s hits and has 12,000 listeners worldwide. ‘I became a fan as a teenager,’ he said.

Other fans had travelled from Florida in the US, Alicante in Spain, Ottawa in Canada and Victoria, Australia. 

Jan Eastaugh, 68, from Ottawa, is going to 13 shows on Sir Cliff’s tour. 

Her friend Joan McAllister, 72, who now lives in Cheshire, is going to all 18 dates in the UK, Ireland and Denmark. 

‘Having lived in Canada, I haven’t been able to see him that much. I’m making up for it now,’ she said.

Other fans had shorter journeys. Dorothy Wright, 81, from Liverpool, who was with daughter Ann Mould, 60, declared: ‘I’ve loved him all my life.’

Sir Cliff took to the stage in tight trousers, a black shirt and sequinned tie. 

He starting with rock’n’roll songs from his heroes Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Little Richard, then launched into his first hit, Move It, from 1958. 

‘It’s a chance for me this year to celebrate 60 unbelievable years,’ he said. ‘I didn’t think I’d ever be 60, let alone have a career that long.’

Living Doll, Summer Holiday and The Young Ones got the audience moving and they were on their feet cheering Congratulations.

Dozens of items with Cliff’s face on were worn by happy fans at the concert. Lesley Reti and Mary Anderson (left) traveled from Australia and Gerrye Gerrits and Sonja Vermeylen (right) came from Spain to be there

After the interval, Sir Cliff changed into ripped jeans, sparkling trainers and a black and silver polo shirt for Mistletoe And Wine, The Millennium Prayer and new material, including Rise Up, a defiant response to his ordeal during the police investigation.

His performance delighted fans. Alma Scragg, 69, from Liverpool, said: ‘Considering what he’s been through, I’m surprised at just how good he is.’ 

Lynn Cavanagh, 56, from Birkenhead, added: ‘He sounds the same as years ago.’ 

Georgie Brakewell, 24, from Lancaster, said: ‘His voice is amazing – and he’s so young-minded.’ 

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