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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 14:38 GMT


Sir Cliff's millennium celebrations

Sir Cliff Richard: Planning for the millennium

The BBC's Rosie Millard reports from Birmingham
Veteran pop star Sir Cliff Richard will celebrate the year 2000 with his fans - on stage at a special millennium charity concert in Birmingham.

The 58-year-old singer is performing a series of 10 special shows at the end of the year at the city's National Indoor Arena.

He wants to raise £1m for charity consortium Children's Promise, and has the backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair in his aim.

Sir Cliff said: "I think it's good to end the millennium on a charity night. People like myself have made a lot of money out of the old one so it would be nice to raise money for charity to end it.

"We're always saying we're the children of the future, so it would be nice to help the real children in years to come."

Allowing for the millennium bug

He has also allowed for the millennium bug - vowing to play on if the lights fail, and opting to use non-computerised generators to power his amplifiers.

Tony Blair wrote: "I wholeheartedly endorse Sir Cliff's support for this project, and should like to thank him for giving so generously of his services for encouraging others to do likewise."

Sir Cliff added he was hoping to persuade other performers to appear with him for free.

"I'm just getting some phone numbers together and I'll phone around," he said.

'Lighting a symbolic lantern'

The shows also have the backing of the Right Reverend Mark Santer, the Bishop of Birmingham, and Sir Cliff said he would be lighting "a symbolic lantern which would burn throughout the year".

He added: "I will find a theme for the millennium night. I have sung for five decades and have had number one hits in all of them. Those five decades represent a large chunk of the end of the millennium so I will be choosing something upfront and bright and breezy."

Children's Promise is also asking people to donate their final hour's earnings of the millennium to their cause. Tickets for the New Year's Eve show are £75 and £100, though the nine shows preceding it are cheaper.

Other celebrities planning millennium parties are said to include David Bowie, who was reported to be writing a song for a show in New Zealand.

The Rolling Stones are said to be negotiating a £6m deal for a New Year's Eve 1999 show, while Barbra Streisand is reported to be being paid £8.5m for a Las Vegas show.

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