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Abuse claims strengthened Cliff Richard's belief in God

By Francesca Gosling

Sir Cliff Richard has said that spending nearly two years facing sex crime allegations made his faith in God "even stronger".

In an interview with LBC presenter Steve Allen, the singer revealed that learning to forgive his accuser helped him release "all that hate and anger."

Asked if the ordeal made him question his faith, the 76-year-old replied: "No, I feel my faith is even stronger. I found I was talking to God a lot more, praying.

"It was the third night of my turmoil, that I woke up and it was 5.15am and I felt the need to forgive this person because I found myself being filled with hate. I wanted revenge and I thought, 'I don't think I'm going to survive if that's the way I'm going to feel'. So by forgiving him... it released me of all that hate and vengeance.

"I know I will never be able to brush this away from me because there will always be some people that will say, 'Well, there is no smoke without fire'."

Looking back on his life and 50-year music career, he described making films as a young actor as "happy days."

But he also told how he felt younger singers today were "much better" than him.

"It's because they've had like 60 years of this pop-rock thing that happened... that's made little changes," Sir Cliff said.

"They may call it garage or they may call it rap or whatever they call it, but it's all based on that basic rock 'n' roll thing."

Often described as one of the kings of Christmas music, with his hits such as Mistletoe And Wine replayed every year, Sir Cliff this year released another track, It's Better To Dream.

But he said the best thing about having devoted fans during the festive season was their willingness to support good causes in his name.

"There is one group in Birmingham who now, when they collect money for me, they don't give anything to me - they spend it on incubators for premature babies," he added.

"So there is a hospital that has, I don't know, a dozen of these incubators that they've bought in my name, but I didn't do anything. How fantastic."

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