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Paul O’Grady funeral – live: Mourners and dogs lined streets for Lily Savage star’s service in Kent

Andre Portasio, the comedian’s husband, invites residents to watch procession in O’Grady’s hometown of Aldington, Kent, before the private funeral service

Jacob Stolworthy,Liam James
Thursday 20 April 2023 23:00 BST
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Paul O’Grady’s coffin passes through Kent on hearse with tribute to Buster the dog

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Paul O’Grady has ben laid to rest in a private ceremony featuring a special tribute from dogs from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The TV icon, who rose to fame as his drag queen alter ego Lily Savage before going on to host a string of TV shows, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” at home last month aged 67.

His funeral took place this afternoon and featured a guard of honour with dogs, in a special nod to O’Grady’s work as an ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2012. He rehomed five dogs while filming his ITV series Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.

Local fans lined the streets to pay their respects as O’Grady’s coffin was led through his home town of Aldington in Kent. Stars in attendance at the funeral included Ronnie Wood, Alan Carr, Gaby Roslin, Jo Brand, and Julian Clary.

It comes after O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio posted in local Facebook groups inviting the local school and community to mourn the comedian, expressing his “deep gratitude” for the “overwhelming outpouring of support and love” he has received in the wake of his spouse’s death.

Earlier today, Paul O’Grady’s coffin was led through his home in Kent – and it had a touching tribute to his beloved dog, Buster.

Paul O’Grady’s coffin passes through Kent on hearse with tribute to Buster the dog
Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 23:00

Paul O’Grady’s wooden coffin was adorned with a wreath of lilies.

Following close behind the TV star’s husband, Andre Portasio, in the procession was his only child, daughter Sharyn Mousley.

Sharyn walked alongside a young man, believed to be O’Grady’s grandson, who was holding Lily Savage’s wig.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 22:00

Animal lover Paul O’Grady toasted by campaigner ahead of funeral

Prominent animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer paid tribute to Paul O’Grady ahead of the late star’s funeral this afternoon.

O’Grady, who made a TV sidekick out of his dog Buster, was known for his love of animals and work with wildlife charities.

Dyer said O’Grady will receive “a wonderful send-off for a wonderful person” on a day that will include a special tribute from dogs of the Battersea Dogs and Cats home.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 21:30

Vanessa Feltz pays tribute to Paul O’Grady

Speaking on Talk TV hours after Paul O’Grady’s funeral, Vanessa Feltz paid tribute to the TV star.

She said: “I wanted to say how deeply, deeply he’s going to be missed by so very many different people. Because he touched so many different communities. Of course, there were all his fans who watched him on television, who just adored him as an entertainer whether in the guise of Lily Savage or whether as himself Paul O’Grady – a lover of animals, that champion of LGBT groups, that champion of social justice.

“He had been a social worker before he was a comedian and was once watching a show when he thought, gosh, that MC is so abysmal, I’m sure I could do better. And leapt on the stage and that very night Lily Savage was born.”

“He really was a gifted man. I don’t just mean a comedian, but a well-read polymath, an intellectual giant actually - although he wore his intellect and his education very, very lightly. He was fascinating, he was kind and considerate. He had an acerbic humour but the sweetest, kindest heart in the world.

“He will be missed so much, by so many of us. I just wanted to pay tribute to him today because I am among those people who will miss him desperately.”

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 21:00

Stars in attendance at Paul O’Grady’s funeral today included included Ronnie Wood, Alan Carr, Gaby Roslin, Jo Brand, and Julian Clary.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 20:35

Paul O’Grady’s funeral ceremony featureda special tribute from dogs of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, who formed a guard of honour.

The star rehomed five Battersea dogs while he filmed his award-winning programme Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.

More than £270,000 has been raised for the London-based charity since O’Grady’s death.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 18:50

Linda Thorson said that the late Queen Elizabeth II adored Paul O’Grady, and was “very at ease” with him.

Canadian actor Thorson, 75, said that O’Grady had a unique connection with the late Queen.

Ellie Muir reports:

Linda Thorson explains why the late Queen adored Paul O’Grady

The late TV presenter and the late Queen met for tea and often exchanged jokes

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 18:20

The streets of Aldington were lined with mourners on Thursday (20 April) as friends and family attended a service to honour the late Paul O’Grady.

The presenter – known and loved for his drag alter-ego Lily Savage – died on 29 March, aged 67. While his cause of death is yet to be officially disclosed, he suffered numerous heart attacks over the years.

The Independent’s wrap story below.

Final farewell to Paul O’Grady as presenter is laid to rest in Kent

Presenter and drag icon was celebrated in his adopted hometown in Kent on the day of his funeral

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 17:50

Wildlife park to host wake for Paul O’Grady

After Paul O’Grady’s funeral in Aldington, a private wake is planned at Port Lympne Safari Park, three miles down the road.

The late star often judged animal competitions at the park. In a tribute after his death on 28 March, staff said: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Paul O’Grady - a local supporter of Port Lympne and the world we do.

“We were incredibly grateful to have him visit us.”

Port Lympne, is home to more than 900 rare and endangered animals on a 600 acre reserve.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 17:20

Who is Paul O’Grady’s husband, Andre Portasio?

Andre Portasio is a former-professional ballet dancer. He began dating entertainer Paul O’ Grady, in 2006, before the pair married in the summer of 2017.

Portasio used to perform with the English National Ballet.

The two were married in a 30-minute ceremony in the gardens of The Goring Hotel, central London, on 5 August 2017.

Guests such as actors Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman and comedian Julian Clary attended the reception.

Jacob Stolworthy20 April 2023 17:05

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