Sir Cliff Richard says last two years were 'a blip' at Pride of Britain Awards
Sir Cliff Richard described the last two years of his life as a "blip" as he made his first major television appearance since an investigation into child sex allegations was dropped.
The singer was joined by Gloria Hunniford as he was among figures including Professor Stephen Hawking and actor David Hasselhoff who turned out at the 18th Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards.
Sir Cliff walked the red carpet ahead of the ceremony, which honours the UK's unsung heroes who have displayed courage, selflessness and achievement against the odds.
He said he was "bounding with energy" to be making his major first television appearance since the investigation was dropped.
The veteran singer, who has launched legal action against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police for alleged collusion in the case, retreated from public life during the two-year probe that saw albums and a biography postponed.
The 76-year-old said: "When you go through something like the last two years in my life, you realise how lucky you are really.
"That's just a blip in my life, really."
He also told Sky News: "I've leant on my faith for two years and I would not have it any other way. My faith stayed strong and now it's stronger.
"I do believe God has a part to play in the fact that I'm still here and people still like me - it's a miracle to me after all these years."
Emma Bunton, Sir Tom Jones and Mary Berry were among the other big names to grace the red carpet ahead of the awards being doled out.
The glittering annual ceremony will be hosted by Carol Vorderman at central London's Grosvenor House, with presenters to include Prime Minister Theresa May and the Prince of Wales.
Categories include special recognition, emergency services, child of courage and TSB community partner, with the winners coming from across the country and from all walks of life.
Meanwhile, Charles will present the Prince's Trust Young Achiever Award to Francesca Brown, 25, who overcame depression and family troubles to found an inspirational football development programme for girls called "Goals4Girls".
The award is presented every year to a young person who has turned their life around against the odds and is now helping others.