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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 11:16 GMT
Shadows star Welch 'has cancer'

The Shadows: Hank Marvin, John Rostill, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett

Guitarist Bruce Welch, a founding member of the legendary instrumental group The Shadows, is suffering from cancer.

The 58-year-old musician told The Mirror newspaper that he will be operated on for prostate cancer next week.

"I still can't believe it. I feel as fit as a fiddle and yet I'm suffering from cancer and I've got to have a big operation," he said.

Welch has enjoyed four decades of success
The Shadows were Cliff Richard's backing group in the 1960s and Welch wrote two of Sir Cliff's most famous songs, Bachelor Boy and Summer Holiday.

The guitarist told The Mirror that Sir Cliff was one of the first to call and wish him well.

"He called me at home to see how I was and told me not to worry," he said.

His operation will be performed at a London hospital next Wednesday and is expected to last about three hours.

Speaking from his home he told the newspaper he was "scared and very twitchy".

"To someone like me who is not used to surgery, it sounds very daunting and frightening - though I'm sure to the surgeon it's a piece of cake," he added.

Enduring sound

The Shadows, whose line-up included guitar great Hank Marvin, became a pop phenomenon in the 1960s.

They had a string of instrumental hits starting with their 1960 song Apache, which featured Sir Cliff on a Chinese drum and went to number one in Britain and many other countries.

After a brief break-up they continued into the 1970s with the Top 10 songs Don't Cry For Me Argentina and Cavatina.

They continued their success into the 1990s and released the award winning album Reflection in 1990.

In total the band have had 34 hits on their own (not counting another 33 with Cliff Richard), which is more than any other British group.

Welch lives in Richmond, south-west London with his 33-year-old partner, Magda Rabenda, and their 12-year-old daughter Lauren.

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17 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff's Millennium hit

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