In Brief

Sir Cliff Richard to sing at Cilla Black's funeral

Fans invited to line two-mile route to see cortege pass through Liverpool

Veteran pop singer Sir Cliff Richard will perform a song at the funeral of long-time friend Cilla Black today, it has been revealed.

Sir Cliff will sing a religious number called Faithful One at the opening of the ceremony. The song was written by Chris Eaton, who also penned the singer's 1990 Christmas number one, Saviour's Day.

Sir Cliff and Cilla had been close friends since their 1960s heyday, and were still frequently pictured out and about together up until her death earlier this month at her Spanish villa.

A post-mortem concluded that the 72-year-old entertainer, who launched her career with chart hits such as Alfie and Step Inside Love before moving into television, died of a stroke after falling and hitting her head.

The funeral will be held at St Mary's RC Church in Woolton, Liverpool, the same church where Cilla's marriage to her beloved husband Bobby was blessed following their civil wedding. Bobby died in 1999.

Fans have been invited to line the two-mile route which the cortege will take to the church for the 1pm requiem mass, which is expected to last up to two hours.

The BBC has obtained a copy of the order of service for the ceremony, which reveals that close celebrity pals Christopher Biggins, Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul O'Grady will be giving readings alongside Cilla's sons Robert and Ben.

Hymns will include All Things Bright and Beautiful and Amazing Grace, while Cilla's own hit Anyone Who Had A Heart will be played during the communion part of the mass. The closing song, Paul McCartney's Long and Winding Road, has particular significance, as McCartney once called Cilla's version of the number "definitive".

Christopher Biggins, who featured in Cilla's TV show Surprise, Surprise, yesterday vowed to send his old friend off in style, saying: "I think she would love it. She’s up there with a glass of champagne and Bobby looking to see who's coming."

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