The parish church of central Finchley
26 Hendon Lane, Finchley, London N3 1TR

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Posted December 2nd, 2023

Finchley Crusaders and (Sir) Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard with One World Players on TV-am, Christmas Day 1990.

(Photo: Cliff Richard with One World Players on TV-am, Christmas Day 1990)

Older members of our congregation will be able to remember the pop star who was associated with Christian worship in Finchley … the prince of rock and roll, Sir Cliff Richard.

Cliff had been a member of the Finchley Crusader Bible Class, held on Sunday afternoons at Christ’s College School and our own church. Among those attending in later years were two of my children, Lyndon and Christian as well as Stella Okonkwo’s son, Tagbo.

They were also members of the One World Players drama and singing group which used to entertain at local old people’s homes, before being “discovered” by a Sunday morning children’s religious programme on TV-am in 1990.

Our proudest moment was being asked to perform alongside superstar Cliff (not yet knighted) on a Sunday morning programme due to be shown on Christmas Day that year.

Excitement reached fever pitch but all the children behaved impeccably and sang beautifully alongside Cliff. He was delighted to learn that many of the group were members of Finchley Crusaders.

Cliff used to live in Etchingham Park Road – where his conversion was believed to have taken place – and he attended St Paul’s Church in Long Lane. I was just completing the research for this article when a familiar name appeared – Disbrey.  A quick phone call to our long serving reader, Claire Disbrey revealed that she, her husband Gerard and his brother were all members of Finchley Crusaders during the Cliff period.

Author: Lynn Radnedge