They have been close friends for decades and now Sir Cliff Richard is preparing to give Cilla Black the ultimate send-off. The iconic singer will perform a gospel song, Faithful One, at the former Blind Date host's funeral.
Black, born Priscilla Maria Veronica White, died at her Spanish home on 1 August. A post-mortem examination concluded that the 72-year-old was sunbathing at her villa in Estepona when she stood up, lost her balance and fell hitting her head and subsequently suffered a stroke.
According to the order of service, released by her publicist, the requiem mass will be a celebration of her life. Actor Christopher Biggins, comedian Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul O'Grady, are also expected to give readings at the service, which will be held at St Mary's Church, Woolton. Fans have been invited to line the two-mile route using the whole length of Woolton Road ahead of the service at 1pm on 20 August. Speakers will be placed outside the venue so they can hear the service.
The entertainer's long-time friend, Jimmy Tarbuck told Sky News: "It's a sad time for me to be home in Liverpool. I usually say how great it is to be home. It isn't this time. She's gone a bit too early I'm afraid – I've been choked up. I've had a bad couple of weeks since I was told. It's dreadful that she's left us at 72 – that's no age."
After the service, the Anyone Who Had A Heart singer will be laid to rest alongside her parents in a private burial at Allerton Cemetery.
Black, dubbed Liverpool's Cinderella, recently made a posthumous comeback to the UK music charts with her compilation album The Very Best Of. The LP – which was originally released in 1983 then expanded and rereleased in October 2013 – reached number 14. It is Black's highest charting album in 47 years, since Sher-oo! in 1968, according to the Official Charts Company.