Cliff Richard claims the Press knew before him that  police would searched his home
Cliff Richard declined the invitation to attend the event to receive a civic honour.Getty

Sir Cliff Richard has pulled out of an awards ceremony in Portugal, in the wake of an alleged historical sex abuse allegation.

The Bachelor Boy singer was to be awarded the Keys of the City of Albufeira, in the hills above the Algarve resort where he has had a summer home for more than 50 years.

The millionaire pop star told officials he would not be able to attend the event to accept the civic honour.

Officials said they had agreed with Sir Cliff's decision, since midst the media frenzy surrounding the veteran pop star, his presence would have overshadowed the ceremony.

Mayor Carlos Silva e Sousa confirmed the news saying: "Cliff was to receive the gold Key of the City because he is a distinguished member of Albufeira.

"He is not here today because it is his choice, but we have kept the invitation and hope to give him his award some time."

Mr Silva e Sousa added that he was aware of the police investigation into an allegation that Sir Cliff had sexually assaulted a young boy at an evangelical rally in Sheffield in 1985.

"I don't know why he is not here. It doesn't change my opinion of him. We are very proud of him. He is a big man," he said.

A dozen others were given medals of merit during a day of celebrations to mark the granting of an ancient charter.

The medals of merit were awarded to three individuals and nine organisations who are credited with positively promoting Albufeira around the world.

Sir Cliff bought his first villa in 1961 in a resort that has become popular with British holidaymakers and has regularly frequented the holiday site for fifty years.

Twenty years ago he bought a bigger home and planted a vineyard on a plot near a bigger estate where he makes his own wine in partnership with a friend.

The star spends several weeks at his Portugal home each summer, arriving after visiting the Wimbledon tennis championships and staying until September.

He has rarely been glimpsed on the 30-acre estate since police raided his UK home in Berkshire last week.

Sir Cliff has also pulled out of a scheduled performance at Canterbury Cathedral in September. He apologised to fans for the disappointment and inconvenience.

Sir Cliff Richard not happy TV cameras were waiting at his home for sex abuse probe police
Sir Cliff Richard not happy TV cameras were waiting at his home for sex abuse probe policeGetty

The singer has described the sex allegation as "completely false" and said he will co-operate fully with the police investigation.

Detectives are expected to interview him in the next few weeks.

Sir Cliff's close friend Cilla Black said earlier this week she is "absolutely positive" the allegation is untrue.

Meanwhile, ardent fans of the singer have launched a campaign to propel him back into the charts.

Rallying support for the 73-year-old star, loyal fans have been purchasing his 1992 single I Still Believe In You.

The track reached number seven upon its original release in Britain.