Sir Cliff Richard tells fans he is 'back to his best' after nightmare year

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Sir Cliff Richard has assured fans he is "back to his best" after a year in which he lost his sister and saw a sexual abuse case against him collapse.

In his first public appearance since his sister Donna Goulden died this month, the 75-year-old singer was greeted by more than 1,000 fans outside his vineyard in the Algarve.

Sir Cliff said his life has been 'effectively turned upside down'

Meeting his supporters, he was quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying: "I'm OK, ­everything will be OK. I want to thank all my fans for being so amazing, they have been ­incredible."

He went on to tell them: "I'm back to my best."

The singer was the subject of a long-running police investigation which centred on accusations that he sexually assaulted a teenage boy in the 1980s.

Sir Cliff Richard with his sisters Donna, Joan and Jacqui

His case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service in June on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

This month his sister died at the age of 73, following a prolonged illness.

Sir Cliff organised an event at the Adega do Cantor vineyard in Albufeira to mark a new red wine it was releasing.

Cliff Richard on stage

His sister Joan, 66, joined him at the event.

She told the paper: "It's been really horrible. But today shows how many fans he's got. They stick by him no matter what.

"I always say that to him, 'They stick by you'. They've always believed in him which is so great. He is so lovely and such a wonderful person."