Cliff Richard all set for Blackpool Opera House concert - and his biggest fan Mark Cunningham will be there

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When singing legend Cliff Richard performs in Blackpool next month, one of his biggest fans will there to see him – and is hoping to meet him.

Dubliner Mark Cunningham, a lifelong Cliff superfan, is coming over to the UK with wife Louise to see the star perform at Blackpool Opera House on Tuesday November 14.

Mark, 47, has attended no less than 107 Cliff concerts, has accumulated one of the largest collections of memorabilia in the world and is well known among fans of the singer all over the globe.

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Hoping for a chat

Yet for all of this, the Dublin Airport security worker has only met his idol once, and that was so fleeting it was for no more than a few seconds.

Now the dad-of-one is hoping that the trip to Blackpool may give him the possibility of meeting Cliff and having a proper chinwag with the singer, whose career spans a remarkable 65 years.

Cliff’s current Blue Sapphire tour celebrates that incredible milestone, and the ‘Bachelor Boy’ is delighted to be including Blackpool, the only northern venue in the whole tour. His first visit to the resort was on October 6, 1958, at the Odeon cinema on Dickson Road, and he has been back to Blackpool on numerous occasions since.

Mark, who even recorded a special video message for the singer, said: “I have seen Cliff in Dublin and more recently I’ve been to Liverpool, Manchester and London – but I’ve never seen him in Blackpool.

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"There’s no direct flight so we'll be coming over by plane to Manchester, then catching a train to Blackpool and then going to see him, all in the same day, but we will be stopping overnight.

"We met Cliff in Portugal at his estate five years ago and had our photo taken with him, but there were hundreds queueing up so it was a blink and miss it moment.

"It would be great to tell him how much he has inspired me over the years.”

Cliff’s long and eventful career has included eight feature films, numerous stage shows, two Eurovision entries, number one hits across five decades and 48 studio albums.

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What is the huge appeal of Cliff?

Mark sad: “A lot of people I know are very dismissive of Cliff and say he is bland and always the same.

"But he really isn’t – over the years he’s done classic rock and roll, country, pop, contemporary rock – and for his next album he’ll be working with strings.

"Every album is different from the last – and he’s been doing this for 65 years.

"The way he goes about his life and his work, he’s a total inspiration.

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"I first saw him with my parents in Dublin when I was just 12 and I’ve been a lifelong fan ever since.”

Mark admits his enthusiasm for Cliff has got in the way of romance in the past but fortunately he struck gold when he met Louise, as she is a huge fan of the star as well.

The couple have a two year old son Benjamin, with another on the way.

Mark, who also sings in a classic rock band in Dublin, Fever, and slips in a few Cliff songs, added: “It’s a while since I’ve been to Blackpool but I really like the place, it’s a perfect venue to see Cliff and we can’t wait.”