International Cliff Richard fans gather in Algarve to celebrate friendship through fandom
by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 07-08-2014 14:55:00 ·
Some of Sir Cliff Richard’s most dedicated followers flew in from around the globe to meet in Albufeira last weekend, where they embarked on a wine-tasting catamaran cruise along the Algarve coast to celebrate the friendships forged through fandom ahead of a fundraising event held at the singer’s vineyard on Monday night.
Last Sunday afternoon forty-four fans of all ages, both genders and from countries ranging from Austria to Australia met in Albufeira to embark on a three-hour catamaran wine-tasting cruise, which was organised purposely to toast the friendships forged among fans over the decades.
Most of them had flown to the Algarve purposely to take part in a fundraising event held at the Adega do Cantor vineyard the following night.
The cruise was organised by Liz Briggs, a tour guide at the Adega do Cantor, who regularly meets the singer’s loyal followers and told The Portugal News: “Every single person here is a dedicated fan, but we are also friends and we all love Sir Cliff.”
Liz, who has been in Portugal for eight years, has been a fan of the legendary ‘Living Doll’ singer since she was a child, and says: “I couldn’t believe my luck when I got a job at the winery!”
Danish couple Jan and Anne Marie, fans of Sir Cliff since the late 1980s, travelled to Portugal last week for the first time to see his vineyard.
“When we found out about the cruise we just had to go on it”, Jan explained, adding that the couple delayed their return home especially to be on the boat.
Sandra Nicholson, from Newcastle, flew in purposely from the UK for the fundraising event, as did 57-year-old life-long fan Margrit, from Austria.
Most of the fans were already well-acquainted, having bumped into each other several times before at a number of the many concerts and events that have been held over the past half a century, since Cliff Richard rocked onto the scene in the late 1950s.
Dutch fan Petra de Nie, who runs the Sir Cliff Video Clips website, was also on the cruise, as was Karen Campbell, who possibly had the longest trip of all fans, having travelled with her husband from Brisbane, Australia.
“We’re friends with Liz and she said ‘you’ve got to come’, so we did”, Karen explains, adding that they tied the trip to Portugal in with visits to other European countries over a three-week period.
“His music is just always there when you need it”, she reflected, a point also stressed by Margaret Harrington, from Middlesbrough, UK, who combines Sir Cliff’s concerts and events with holidays with her son, Con. Together the mother-and-son duo have travelled the globe holidaying and following Cliff Richard’s performances.
“We’ve been going to see him since Con was eight”, Margaret explains, having holidayed in countries including Iceland and Thailand to see the legendary singer. And, she reiterates, “For those of us who have had our ups and downs in life and been through bad times, his music is always there to lift us up. There’s always a song that fits and just helps you through.”
Son Con elaborates: “I used to get teased at school for liking Cliff Richard but I think people don’t give him a fair chance. They listen to his songs at Christmas, or for holidays, but there’s more than that. First and foremost I really like his music, he genuinely loves his fans and he’s a lovely man. And part of the fun is meeting up with everybody.”
“Massive fan”, 23-year-old Sarah Grallert, from Germany, was also among the excited followers waiting to board the Belize catamaran at Albufeira Marina on Sunday afternoon.
“He’s just the best; he has a fantastic voice, he’s really entertaining and he just loves everybody. I’ve been to eight of his shows so far this year”, she enthused, proving that Sir Cliff Richard’s appeal transcends the boundaries of age and time, and is set to continue for many years to come.