Sir Cliff Richard's faith played a ''major part'' in getting him through being accused of historic sex offences.

The 'Devil Woman' hitmaker as subject to a 22-month long investigation after four sex abuse allegations were made against him during 1958 and 1983, but never arrested or charged, and credits his strong Christian beliefs and the support of his friends and fans in helping him endure the scandal.

He told Britain's HELLO! magazine:'' My faith has played a major part. God has looked after me and I'm even more aware of that fact now.

''But most of the time it was because I got support from everybody. Whether I was in the street or at the airport, I got the thumbs-up from people and for that I'm so grateful.''

The 76-year-old star admits the experience has changed his outlook on life but he feels more fortunate than ever.

He said: ''I have a whole different approach to life now.

''It's been a terrifically big lesson for me and has made me aware of how important love is.

''You don't consider how fortunate you are until something like this happens to you.

''So to all those people who supported me, I would like to say, 'Thank you very much. I don't think it would have been as easy to get through had it not been for you.' ''

And Cliff - who is planning to sue both the BBC and the South Yorkshire police for naming him as the suspect in the child abuse case, and for publicly broadcasting a raid on his Berkshire mansion in 2014 - is hoping his ordeal will make him a ''stronger'' person.

He said: ''It's so nice to be doing things I'm used to doing and getting back to some form of normality.

''I've spent two years in complete silence because I decided it was best not to say anything in public. It was a matter of being patient.

''I got through it, but I'll never get over it.

''It's an experience I wouldn't want to repeat or for anyone else to go through. They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'm trusting this is true. I'm feeling stronger already.''