Cliff Richard has turned down a Portuguese honour following allegations of sexual abuse.
The singer was due to be presented with the keys to the city of Albufeira, his adopted home city, but chose not to accept the honour, following his denial of a historical sex offence, reports The Telegraph.
Earlier this month, a house belonging to the singer in Berkshire was searched by police in relation to claims involving a boy under 16 dating back to the 1980s in the South Yorkshire area. However, Richard said in a statement: “For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulating online. The allegations are completely false. Up until now, I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen.”
The singer was due to be awarded the Freedom of Albufeira earlier today (August 20), but did not attend the ceremony. Carlos Silva e Sousa, mayor of Albufeira, commented, “Cliff was invited to receive the gold key of the city because he is a distinguished member of Albufeira. It’s a big honour. We are recognising big politicians and figures in civil society. He’s not here today because it was his choice.”
He added, “It doesn’t change my opinion of him. We are very proud of him, he is a big man. He is a very good man and we keep that opinion… I hope to give him the award at some point. It is his city.” Richard is currently in Portugal, where he has been since the raid on his Berkshire residence.