Maidstone gets ready to party

Revellers are getting ready for a brand new festival in Maidstone this weekend featuring bands like Sister Sledge and Brand New Heavies.

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Sir Cliff issues statement as police search his Berkshire home

Sir Cliff Richard has dismissed a sex crime claim involving a young boy in the 1980s as "completely false".

The pop legend hit out as police carried a five-hour search of his Berkshire penthouse apartment, saying he had seen allegations circulating online for months but had chosen not to "dignify" them with a response.

Sir Cliff, 73, is not currently in the UK but pledged to co-operate with the inquiry, which concerns an alleged assault claimed to have taken place at an appearance by American evangelist Billy Graham in Sheffield in 1985.

It is understood that lawyers for the singer, who is believed to be in Portugal, have been in contact with South Yorkshire Police, who are carrying out the inquiry.

The investigation is not connected to Scotland Yard's high-profile sex crime probe Operation Yewtree, which was launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal.

In a statement, Sir Cliff said: "The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen.

"However, the police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear to the press.

"I am not presently in the UK but it goes without saying that I will co-operate fully should the police wish to speak to me.

"Beyond stating that today's allegation is completely false it would not be appropriate to say anything further until the police investigation has concluded."

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Police search Sunningdale home of Sir Cliff Richard

Cliff
Sir Cliff Richard's Sunningdale home has been searched Credit: ITV

Sir Cliff Richard's property in Sunningdale, Berkshire, is being searched by police, it has been reported. The search is said to be in connection with an alleged historical sexual offence. It follows an allegation involving a boy under 16, from the South Yorkshire area in the 1980s. The search is not believed to be connected to Operation Yewtree. More to follow.

Rain won't dampen festival thanks to hockey pitch!

James Blunt
James Blunt plays Wickham Festival in the rain Credit: James Blunt

James Blunt will be “pitch perfect” at the Wickham Festival thanks to a unique way of beating the mud.

Recent downpours have made the site soft under foot but organisers will be putting down an artificial hockey pitch to give the 7,000 fans a firm footing.

It has come from Southampton Sports Centre which has just replaced its all-weather surfaces and that has proved a timely bonus for the festival.

We must be the first festival ever to put down a hockey pitch for fans. Instead of getting wet and muddy feet, our festival-goers will now have the most luxurious ground surface of any festival in the UK.

It will also be used backstage to help the likes of James Blunt and our other headliners the Lightning Seeds, Steve Earle and the Dukes plus Bellowhead.

The rain has made the ground quite soggy in places and we were preparing to put down straw when I got the offer of the hockey pitch.

– Peter Chegwyn
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