Variety, the Children’s Charity, honoured superstar Sir Cliff Richard as he celebrated 60 years in show business, at a celebratory tribute evening at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square in the heart of Mayfair. Family, including his sister Joan Webb, friends and Sir Cliff’s loyal fans gathered to support this celebration of his life and music over the last 60 years.
Introduced by Gaby Roslin, guests heard moving tributes to Sir Cliff from long-term friends, including members of the Shadows Bruce Welch OBE, Hank Marvin and Brian Bennett OBE, co-film star Una Stubbs, Paul Gambaccini, Jimmy Tarbuck OBE, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John CBE, Olivia Newton John OBE, Sir Tim Rice, Monty Norman, Brian May CBE and Anita Dobson, Jasper Carrott OBE, and Gloria Hunniford OBE, both in person and recordings. These were interspersed with classics from the music legend himself. Many amusing anecdotes were related, recalling events over the years in his truly remarkable career.
The Event Chairman, Variety Trustee and Former Chief Barker Malcolm Brenner and Celebrity Manager Caroline Monk presented philanthropist Sir Cliff with a certificate appointing him Ambassador of Variety. The Event Producer was the talented songwriter, composer, arranger, producer, and pianist Tony Hatch. Sir Cliff’s PA, Tania Hogan, worked tirelessly with Sarah Boorman the Variety Events Manager, and her team.
Sir Cliff Richard was the first pop star to be made a Knight of the Realm in the 1995 Birthday Honours, for his charity work. In his career to date he has recorded nearly 1,300 song titles, composed 100 songs, achieved 14 Number One singles, and 7 Number One albums, selling 250 million records worldwide. Starting as a rock ‘n’ roll singer, his career developed to include successful films, musicals, concert tours and television shows, all contributing to make him the legend and institution he is now. Beatle John Lennon said that before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British Music.
The Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square Executive Chef Graeme Campbell produced a delicious dinner, starting with Crisp Poached Egg, Asparagus, Tomato and Chive-truffle Mayo, followed by Short Rib of Beef, Olive Dauphine, Carrots, French Beans, Red Onion Pure and Braising Jus and rounded off with Lemon and Lime Tart, Vodka Mint Strawberries and Pistachio Cream.
Such an evening would not be complete without remembering the purpose of Variety, and Daniel Ball, told of the difference to his life that his Strike Force Power Chair, donated by the Charity, had made. Sir Cliff’s Tribute Evening raised a total in excess of £120,000, including £5,500 for the 60th Anniversary Tour jacket worn by Sir Cliff on stage and shown in the tour DVD.