On March 29, it was announced that beloved presenter, comedian and drag queen Paul O’Grady had passed away “unexpectedly but peacefully”.
Ever since, tributes have poured in from those whose lives were touched by the entertainer, from the Vauxhall Tavern – where O’Grady performed as drag icon Lily Savage – to an emotional documentary celebrating his life, which aired earlier this month on ITV.
An outpouring of love has also been ever-present from Battersea, the animal welfare charity where Paul O’Grady was a devoted ambassador. Following his sad passing, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home recognised all the man had done to raise the profile of the charity, particularly through his ITV series Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.
Today (April 20), dogs from Battersea will line the streets to form a guard of honour, paying tribute through puppy love to Paul O’Grady at his funeral near Ashford in Kent.
Paul O’Grady married Andre Portasio in 2017, and his husband revealed that while the funeral would be a private ceremony, there would be a procession for the late performer to recognise the love the community had for him.
Portasio took to Facebook to invited locals to stand on Roman Road, Forge Hill or New Road Hill in Aldington and Bonnington in Kent, at 2:10-2:45 today. He also thanked the public for the “overwhelming outpouring of support and love”.
After becoming an ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2012, Paul O’Grady rehomed five dogs in the filming of his ITV series. More than £270,000 has been raised for the home in honour of the comedian’s work there.
When O’Grady passed, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home released an emotional tribute to the late star, with their Chief Executive Peter Laurie saying:
“Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres. Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.”
You can read Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s full tribute to Paul O’Grady here, and read more about the work the charity, which has been caring for animals since 1860, carries out here.