Sir Cliff Richard connects with Swansea fan
SIR Cliff Richard has interrupted his summer holiday to make a Swansea-based community radio volunteer and charity fundraiser's day.
The timeless star can't be accused of not talking any more after picking up the phone to call 37-year-old Paul Johnson to thank him for all he has done for his community.
Despite being born without sight Paul, from Bonymaen, spends his spare time collecting for charity having done everything from sponsored walks to even driving a car (off road of course) to raise money for worthy causes.
The massive Sir Cliff Richard fan also presents Weekday Live on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10 am to 1pm, on Radio Tircoed, a community based radio station.
He said: "When I was young I used to listen to Swansea Sound, especially the morning show with Steve Dewitt and Doreen Jenkins. I also used to go along to the Swansea Sound road shows. Since then I always wanted to be a DJ."
On leaving Bridgend School for the Blind Paul set about making his dream come true.
He said: "I volunteered for Hospital Radio in Singleton Hospital for 10 years and somebody there put a word in for me with Radio Tircoed and I began with them in December 2007.
"I do two mornings a week, Monday and Wednesday."
Paul overcomes his sight impairment thanks to the power of his friends.
He explains: "I have a rota of seven volunteers who come in and help me."
Speaking about his admiration for the Bachelor Boy singer Paul said: "I have always been a Cliff Richard fan, ever since I had his single, The Only Way is Out, played on Swansea Sound for me by Steve Dewitt on my sixth birthday.
"My mother is not really a fan but she did go and see him in Cardiff before I was born."
Talking of the moment his hero suddenly called he said: "I was at home in my bedroom when the phone rang. I picked it up and a voice asked is that Paul Johnson?
"I thought it was one of those sales people. I said yes and got ready to put the phone down when he said, 'It's Harry Webb but you may know me better as Cliff Richard.'
"I just felt on top of the world, I couldn't belive it. I was pinching myself to show I wasn't dreaming.
"I did think that maybe it was someone winding me up at first but you have to be polite.
"He spoke for around five minutes and was calling from America.
"The call was arranged by Llanelli actor Dale Francis, I had read about him in the Evening Post and arranged to interview him on the radio.
"He e-mailed Sir Cliff's agent saying that I was a fan and had done so much for charity over the years. I can't thank him enough. I'm so amazed."
And while Paul has every album Sir Cliff has bestowed on the world — from Wired for Sound to Miss You Nights — there is one small matter that needs to be put right — he has never been to a real live Sir Cliff Richard concert.
Hopefully that will be sorted out soon with Paul saying: "He said that he was hoping to come to Cardiff as part of his Farewell Tour and that he wanted me to go along and meet him after the show."