Sir Cliff Richard enjoys 'free' birthday
Sir Cliff Richard felt "free" on his birthday for the first time in three years following historic sex abuse charges against him being dropped.
The 'Congratulations' singer turned 76 on Friday (14.10.16) and has felt as though his life was on hold since South Yorkshire police opened the investigation against him in August 2014 regarding allegations made against him by four men for apparent assaults that took place between 1958 and 1983.
This summer, the Crown Prosecution Service eventually ruled there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Cliff with any offence and he admits he finally feels "comfortable" the charges have been dropped.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper at the Pinktober Gala in London on Friday (14.10.16), he said: "I feel great; I feel absolutely fantastic. This is the first birthday in three years that I've been able to feel really comfortable. I feel free.
"It wasn't very pleasant what happened. From now on I hope my birthdays will all be very nice."
The 'Devil Woman' hitmaker will be visiting the UK Parliament, where he will argue his case for those accused of sex abuse crimes to be given anonymity before they are charged.
The news comes after the pop legend said he was named and shamed before he was even interviewed by police, which damaged his reputation.
Cliff said previously: "[I was] named before I was even interviewed, and for me that was like being hung out like 'live bait'. My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not."
The 'Summer Holiday' actor will be joined in the address by broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who was also wrongly accused of abuse and held on bail for over a year as the police conducted their investigation.
The pair will tell members of parliament of their experiences with false accusations and negative publicity, but Cliff says he doesn't think anything will change in the near future.
Cliff said: "Things don't work very fast in Parliament so we'll have to be very patient. We will express what it means to us and hope that it might change. What we hope to achieve is for people who are in our position and who can't afford lawyers and who don't have contact with the media.
"We are the lucky few who have a chance to speak out. It's not for us, I'm free, I could live my life and not bother. The thought of it happening to someone else is horrifying."