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Cliff Richard Tribute Act Comes Out Of The Shadows For Fundraising Event

Former Baptist minister who developed Cliff Richard tribute act returns for special performance

13 Apr 2023

Will Chandler performs his Cliff Richard tribute while wearing the shirt that once belonged to Sir Cliff Richard

Will Chandler performing his Cliff...As if act, wearing the shirt that once belonged to Sir Cliff

A former Baptist minister who developed a successful Cliff Richard tribute act until a terminal cancer diagnosis forced him to retire from the stage, recently led a special performance at Cromer Church to fundraise for international development charity Tearfund.

 

Will Chandler, 60, who lives near the Norfolk coastal town, brought a supporting group along who included familiar songs by Cliff’s backing group, The Shadows. Together with Will’s tribute act, they packed the church with more than 300 people, raising over £2,500 for Tearfund’s development work in some of the world’s poorest countries. 

 

Previously, Will travelled the UK with his successful ‘Cliff … As If!’ act, performing in social clubs and theatres, as well as on cruise ships. ‘The tribute act was never really meant to happen,’ he explained. ‘I was a minister in a Baptist church in Leicestershire and because I resemble Cliff Richard and I can sing a bit and play the guitar, my nickname was always “Cliff”. Then people started asking me to come to their church and play, and it snowballed from there.’  

 

‘Cliff … As If!’ began to attract more bookings from secular venues, but Will says ‘I never left the Christian roots behind. The act opened lots of doors for me to take Christianity out into the world. Cliff has lots of Christian songs such as The Only Way Out and I could introduce these songs and tell people about the faith background.’

 

To hone his act, Will ‘watched Cliff and learnt to talk like him and had a lot of fun.’  Gradually he acquired a suitable wardrobe: ‘I’ve got one of Cliff’s own shirts - a patterned one with a wing collar - which a friend won in a raffle and gave to me. People always want me to wear it for photographs!’  Will’s likeness to the much-loved singer - and former Tearfund Vice-President - is such that one party-goer fainted when Will turned up in his professional role as a ‘Cliffagram’.

 

Before the special Cromer concert, Will’s last gig had been in December 2021, also to fundraise for Tearfund, but the next day he had a seizure. ‘That’s when my journey with cancer began,’ he said, adding of his life as a Cliff tribute artist ‘I miss it so much. It was my life, it was everything, that’s why doing that concert in Cromer for Tearfund was so important.’

 

Because he’s living with the cancer diagnosis, Will says he receives frequent invitations to speak publicly about his experience. ‘I’m optimistic. Because I have a very strong faith it’s carrying me through. I’ve had a peace in my heart about the whole situation. I’ve got too many blessings to be complaining about not being able to do my act. I will just take whatever comes and in the meantime if I get to do things like I did for Tearfund that’s a bonus.’

 

If you wish to donate to Will’s fundraising please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/will-chandler

 

ENDS


Tearfund is a Christian charity that partners with churches in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries. We tackle poverty through sustainable development, responding to disasters and challenging injustice. We believe an end to extreme poverty is possible. Tearfund is also a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

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