Cliff Richard was yesterday appointed a cultural ambassador for Valletta as Malta embraced the star.
“It’s going to be very easy for me to be a knowledgeable ambassador, look people in the eye and say ‘you have to visit’,” Sir Cliff said, adding he was proud to be chosen as an ambassador for Valletta.
Valletta Alexiei Dingli said the artist’s humble attitude was well suited to Valletta’s slogan Citta Umilissima (humblest city).
“I’m really amazed by the relationship between Sir Cliff Richard and his fans and vice versa, a relationship of mutual love and respect,” Dr Dingli said.
Loyal fans with T-shirts reading ‘Hi Cliff’ were at the local council offices waiting patiently.
One of them was Joe Delia, 64, who is the founder of ‘Golden’, the ‘Cliff Richard Malta Meeting House,’ a local fan club established during the past week and which already has 28 members in its ranks.
“Other people have already taken their picture with Cliff, even though they didn’t work as hard as I did.
“I’ve been preparing for Cliff’s visit for three weeks, but I still haven’t had my picture taken with him,” the devout fan said, complaining he had forgotten his photo album of Cliff Richard photos.
When eventually the twice-knighted singer arrived, he was greeted by a beaming mayor, who said cultural ambassadors had to be individuals who could “take culture to everyone”, and not just the elite.
Sir Cliff, whose hits include Living Doll and Devil Woman, was in Malta for an exclusive concert on Friday night, for which there were only 300 tickets – sold for a minimum of €175 – available.
At the dinner, held at the Excelsior hotel, in which the 70-year old singer performed fan favourites, Sir Cliff was also presented with the Palma D’Oro Peace Award of Assisi for his charity work.
The event went smoothly until fans decided it was time to get autographs, when witnesses reported a “mini-stampede” until the singer asked for a queue to be formed, before he spent 30 minutes signing autographs.
Yesterday, he was presented with a photo to sign, after which some of the fans waiting went up to him to get their memorabilia signed.
“You’re not all going to start this again, are you?” the singer quipped.
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