Cliff Richard‘Daniel and Majella, Gloria, (were some of the first people) to come and stay with me… and it was a great comfort.’

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

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“Ireland, whether they know it or not, played a nice part in my life,” Sir Cliff Richard told Miriam O’Callaghan as he prepares to play three shows here in September.  Cliff has chosen to Ireland as the first stop in his 60th-anniversary tour as he described the welcome he feels from the Irish people and the great connection he has with his Irish friends including Daniel and Majella O’Donnell and Gloria Hunniford.  When it comes to the secret of his great success, Cliff goes back to the old adage, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

“I can only suppose that my love for rock n roll hasn’t diminished.  I love pop rock music and I was very lucky…  If you can find a job that you love, then it’s always a pleasure and in our business of course how could you not love being loved and you know you feel it when you’re on stage, when you’re presenting yourself to the public, you feel that connection with them and I love that and I guess just because I’ve loved it forever, it’s helped me sustain my career.”

Born in India as Harry Roger Webb, something else that Cliff credits for his success is his upbringing and ethos his parents instilled in him and his sisters.

“If we do survive in life, it always goes back to the parents, it’s how you first thought of how you should work.  My father said to me very early on before my career really started, he said to me, you really want this, and I said, yeah, I really want to do this.  He said, well, when it happens, what you’re going to have to do is work really hard at it, don’t assume it’s going to be easy so even now that factor is still in my head.”

Apart from hard work and a little bit of luck (“Most of us that make it have grabbed luck by the throat and won’t let go of it”), Cliff’s faith has played a huge role in carving out and sustaining his place in the history books, despite huge challenges.  “It’s strong than ever,” he says of his Christian beliefs, describing the “dark moments” he experienced in the wake of false allegations of sexual assault during Operation Yewtree.  In the latest judgement, the BBC has been ordered to pay him costs and compensation for breach of privacy and he did receive £400,000 from the South Yorkshire Police.  Cliff spoke about the lifelines that got him through this traumatic time.

“My faith, my fans, my friends, my family, they never left me alone… so therefore I survived a lot of it…  I was always able to speak to God, pour my heart out, and I think that was very good for me and because of being a Christian, I’d heard about forgiveness and I forgave my accuser very, very early on.  I think the third night I woke up at about 3 o’clock, and for 22 months… I didn’t sleep for more than maybe on average 2 hours…  I woke up that third night and I thought, I don’t know how to do this because I’m beginning to hate, how can you do this to me, and I forgave him…  I felt better not having that hate burning in my heart anymore but frustration was there.”

“Nobody that knows me at all could believe what happened so I hope and pray that I’m stronger for it,” said Cliff, particularly crediting his Irish pals for coming to his aid when the accusations first broke.

“Daniel and Majella were going to come to visit and they were amongst a group of people who emailed me and said look, we think you probably should be on your own…  I immediately said, please, I don’t want to be on my own, and they all came.  Some of the first people, Daniel and Majella, Gloria, to come and stay with me and be with me and it was a great comfort.”

Click here for more from Today with Miriam O’Callaghan

(Photo by ShowBizIreland/Getty Images)

© The Listener 2018

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