Wakefield grandmother's last minute dream meeting with Sir Cliff Richard ahead of Leeds concert
Grandmother-of-seven Christine Sutcliffe won't be the only life-long fan of Sir Cliff Richard at his Harewood House concert tonight.
But she may have be the sole attendee who can claim to have met the veteran star at his own vineyards in Portugal this year – a moment she waited nearly 60 years for.
Decades after Living Doll lingered at the top of the UK Singles Chart for six weeks in 1959, Sir Cliff is due to wow his audience at the historic home in Leeds.
Although Mrs Sutcliffe, 69, has seen her favourite act live more than 20 times, she is to all the hits again alongside her sister Carol Kernick.
However in May, she spontaneously booked tickets to visit the singer’s vineyards in the Guia part of the Algarve.
She said: “I’m 70 next birthday and you never know whether he wants to do any more signing at his winery. This was the last time guaranteed to meet him physically.”
After flying out and taking a taxi to the vineyards at 6.30am, Mrs Sutcliffe queued along with others to meet the star.
She said: “He was everything and more I expected. He spoke and had time for everyone.
“As I approached I was so nervous. I said ‘it’s only taken 59 years’. And his comment was ‘you mean you’re only 59?’. I said ‘I wish’ and we both started laughing.”
Mrs Sutcliffe, of Altofts, had a picture and video taken of her meeting with Sir Cliff which she will “cherish forever”.
But the trip proved ill-fated afterwards when she was struck down with what was thought to be infectious colitis and had to miss her original flight home.
It was not the first time a brush with Sir Cliff took an unfortunate turn.
Days before she went to see him in concert for the first time at the Odeon in Leeds, Mrs Sutcliffe was involved in a “horrific” car accident.
Three people died, while 17-year-old Mrs Sutcliffe and her sister were injured.
Sir Cliff’s The Minute You’re Gone was released around that time and took on an extra poignancy because a boy she had recently met was one of those who died in the accident.
Despite being “black and blue”, the youngster took a bus to the concert and cried throughout with a “mixture of happiness and pain”.
But years later the 76-year-old star, whose birth name was Harry Rodger Webb, is still her number one singer.
Her sons Stephen, Craig and Jamie, daughter Joanne, and husband John, have all helped Mrs Sutcliffe to see him over the years.
Now she has one last dream: a charity parachute jump down to Sir Cliff, holding a bouquet of roses.