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Paul O’Grady’s husband tearfully leads mourners as hundreds of fans bring their dogs for guard of honour at funeral
20 April 2023, 13:48 | Updated: 20 April 2023, 16:39
Paul O'Grady's grief-stricken husband led the beloved entertainer's funeral cortege through the streets of Kent as hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their respects.
Andre Portasio, Paul's partner of 17 years, made a tearful appearance in Aldington this afternoon as the funeral for Paul got under way.
Andre was visibly emotional as he was pictured sitting up front on a carriage bearing Paul's coffin while holding onto their dog.
Rescue dogs formed a guard of honour ahead of the procession and fans of the TV personality congregated around the cortege as it arrived, showing off their tributes and personalised farewells to Paul, who created beloved TV drag act Lily Savage.
School children, dogs and grieving fans lined the streets of Kent.
Fans of the much loved comedian arrived in the surrounding areas of the popular comedian's home, the village of Aldington this afternoon – as well as other surrounding areas Birkenhead and Battersea.
Members of the public were invited to join family and friends of Mr O'Grady in a street procession ahead of a private funeral being held today.
School children have taken heartwarming posters dedicated to the popular comedian to the streets, decorated with handmade drawings of dogs printed on, as their own personal tribute to the national treasure.
The co-headteacher of Aldington Primary School said Mr O’Grady would often show up to fetes at the school.
"He would not just turn up and then go, he would stay and chat to the children. Everyone who met him would say what you see on the screen is what you see in real life. He was a larger-than-life character who lit up a room.
"As a community, we took him into our hearts and he took us into his."
Others have arrived to the procession with posters displaying the late comedian alongside their own farewell messages.
A tribute will be formed of dogs from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home during the street procession, the home where he filmed his series For the Love of Dogs.
Many people have also shown up to the event accompanied by their pet dogs, which Mr O'Grady was known for loving.
The TV presenter unexpectedly passed away last month, aged 67, due to sudden cardiac arrhythmia.
More than £270,000 has been raised as a “tribute fund” for the 67-year-old's passing.
Mr O’Grady’s funeral is scheduled to take place at 3pm today.
Actor and peer of Mr O’Grady, Michael Cashman, said of the event: "My heart will be grieving, but I'll be smiling about the love and the fun."
The presenter was known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, as well as For the Love of Dogs and other shows.