Cliff Richard has pulled out of a charity event after finding himself at the centre of a police sex abuse investigation.
The veteran singer was due to appear at Canterbury Cathedral on September 26, but his spokesman said Cliff Richard “doesn’t want the event to be overshadowed by the false allegation and has therefore withdrawn”.
The statement adds: “He is sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.”
Richard’s apartment was searched by officers from South Yorkshire and Thames Valley police last week as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a young boy at a religious event in 1985. Sir Cliff, who was in Portugal when the search took place, has firmly denied any wrongdoing.
Fellow showbiz veteran Cilla Black has rallied to Cliff Richard’s defence saying she thinks allegations that he sexually assaulted a boy in the 1980s are “without foundation”.
In a statement, Cilla said: “Cliff is a very close friend of mine and has been for a million years.
“I, like everyone else, was shocked to hear of these allegations and I am absolutely positive that they are without foundation.”
The raid on the pop star’s Berkshire penthouse caused controversy when the BBC broke news of the search, with a film crew reportedly arriving on the scene before the police.
The corporation’s director-general Tony Hall and chief constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton will face a grilling by MPs over the affair, and the force’s police and crime commissioner has launched an independent review of what happened.
Mr Crompton and Lord Hall have been warned to stand ready to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) after Parliament returns from recess.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz has written to both men asking a series of questions about how the BBC found out about the planned search, and asked them to reply by midday on Friday.