Paul O'Grady will be laid to rest at funeral today with dogs from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to form a guard of honour | The Sun
PAUL O'Grady will today be laid to rest at a funeral where canines from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home will form a guard of honor.
The British icon and TV legend passed away late last month, with his cause of death listed as sudden cardiac arrhythmia.
The 67-year-old's death shocked the nation, with tributes quickly pouring in for the Radio 2 star.
Today he will be farewelled in a private service – but not before fans get a chance to pay their respects.
A procession leading to the funeral will see Paul's coffin taken through his hometown of Aldington, Kent where mourners are expected to line the streets.
In a special nod to the canine lover, a guard of honor will be made up of pooches from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
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Paul had become an ambassador for the animal charity in 2012 and rehomed five dogs while filming his multiple award-winning ITV show Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.
The Salvation Army Band is also expected to play for Paul, who rose to fame as Lily Savage.
The much-loved broadcaster's service is being held in Kent as it was the place he called home for more than 20 years.
Paul's husband Andre Portasio yesterday took to local Facebook groups inviting the school and community to say their farewells.
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Andre also said he wanted to express his "deep gratitude" for the "overwhelming outpouring of support and love" he had received following Paul's death.
He wrote: "While the funeral will be a private ceremony, as many of you know, Paul cared a lot about his local community.
"We have therefore requested that the funeral procession passes through Aldington before heading to the church, as a way of marking Paul's affection for the area."
Following the private ceremony in Aldington a celebration will be held at the nearby Port Lympne Safari Park.
The park contains more than 900 rare and endangered animals and includes an elegant country house hotel.
Meanwhile, a "community funeral" will be held for Paul in Birkenhead, Merseyside where he was born.
Mourners have been welcomed to gather along Grange Road and Woodchurch Road in the town with their pets from 2-4pm.
The service is being organised by Janine Ferguson, a self-confessed life-long fan of Paul, who also plans to raise money for animal charities.
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She told Wirral Globe: “Birkenhead was Paul's home so I hope we can give it our very best to make his memory an extremely special day.
“I've asked for all local rescue dogs and cats' homes to attend as well so we can collect donations from everyone there."
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