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Monday, 6 December, 1999, 11:37 GMT
Sir Cliff 'bigger than the Pope'
Veteran pop star Sir Cliff Richard
Chart-topper: Sir Cliff Richard leaves the Pope trailing
Pop veteran Sir Cliff Richard is the best-known living Christian, beating the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, according to a survey carried out in the UK.

Pope John Paul II
The Pope came seventh in the survey
The 59-year-old topped the poll of more than 3,600 shoppers in town centres throughout the country carried out for London-based Premier Christian Radio.

The singer, who is currently enjoying his second week at number one in the UK pop chart, pipped the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, while the Prince of Wales was third.

Former Lebanon hostage Terry Waite took fourth place, the Queen fifth, rock star Bob Geldof sixth, with the the Pope trailing in seventh place.

American evangelist Billy Graham ranked eighth, former boxer Frank Bruno ninth, and ex-Goon Sir Harry Secombe was 10th.

Top 10 famous Christians
Sir Cliff Richard
Archbishop of Canterbury
Prince Charles
Terry Waite
The Queen
Bob Geldof
Pope John Paul
Billy Graham
Frank Bruno
Sir Harry Secombe

Peter Kerridge, managing director of Premier Christian Radio, said: "It is clear that while other people mentioned in the chart may be every bit or more well-known than Sir Cliff, he is the person who seems to be most readily identified with Christianity."

He added: "The survey would seem to indicate that while only about half of us in the UK follow a specific religion, the vast majority of us believe in Christian values.

"That is probably in no small part due to people like Sir Cliff who demonstrate a positive Christian lifestyle."

The survey comes on the day a campaign targeting the 38 million people who believe in God but rarely go to church is launched.

'Religion is Dead'

The One Step Closer campaign, supported by Sir Cliff Richard, plans to display hundreds of posters saying Religion is Dead on billboards in towns and cities throughout Britain.

Sir Cliff said: "One Step Closer is a great opportunity to search our spiritual dimension and to invite God to have a part in our lives."

See also:

08 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Christians call for Sir Cliff boycott
29 Nov 99 | Talking Point
Sir Cliff - hero or zero?
05 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Sir Cliff tipped for millennium No 1
02 Dec 99 | Entertainment
BBC's all-star millennium bash
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