US preacher Billy Graham who preached to more than 300,000 at 1985 Sheffield rallies dies at 99

Billy Graham, complete with Sheffield United tie, arrives in the city in 1985.
Billy Graham, complete with Sheffield United tie, arrives in the city in 1985.

US evangelist Billy Graham - who preached to more than 300,000 people in Sheffield in the 1980s - has died at the age of 99.

Described as one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century, he was one of the world's best known promoters of Christianity and hosted a week-long series of rallies in Sheffield in the summer of 1985.

Between June 22-29 of that year, he spoke to more than 329,000 people at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane - including singer Sir Cliff Richard who was a special guest at the final night of the Mission Britain event more than 30 years ago.

Graham preached to audiences worldwide in large arenas, beginning in London in 1954.

Over 60 years, he is estimated to have personally preached to 210 million people.

Sir Cliff appeared at Bramall Lane on June 28, 1985, performing in front of a crowd of 47,200 and also meeting the Bishop of Sheffield to defuse a row over his refusal to boycott apartheid-era South Africa.

A poster promoting the rallies in the summer of 1985.

A poster promoting the rallies in the summer of 1985.

Graham, who was then at the height of his worldwide popularity, packed out United’s home ground seven nights running.

During his visit, he was pictured sporting a Sheffield United tie on his arrival at Sheffield railway station.

Billy Graham during one of his Sheffield rallies.

Billy Graham during one of his Sheffield rallies.

Billy Graham and Cliff Richard at Bramall Lane in 1985.

Billy Graham and Cliff Richard at Bramall Lane in 1985.

The preacher was presented with a canteen of Sheffield cutlery during his rallies.

The preacher was presented with a canteen of Sheffield cutlery during his rallies.