Dogs from the famous Battersea rescue centre will form a guard of honour as part of a private funeral service for Paul O’Grady.
O’Grady, who rose to fame with his drag alter-ego Lily Savage before going on to host a number of popular television and radio shows, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” at his home on 28 March at the age of 67.
His funeral will take place today, and will see a number of dogs form the guard of honour in a special nod to his extensive work with the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, for which he was an ambassador, as well as rehoming five dogs from there while he filmed his award-winning show Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.
More than £270,000 has been raised for the charity since O’Grady’s death.
The Salvation Army is also expected to play during the service.
Details of his funeral procession were revealed earlier in the week by his husband Andre Portasio, who said he was grateful for the “overwhelming outpouring of support and love I have received since the passing of our beloved Paul O’Grady”.
“Your kind messages, beautiful flowers, and thoughtful texts of condolences have brought me comfort and solace during this difficult time.”
He revealed the funeral would be a private ceremony, but added that the TV star “cared a lot about his local community” and, therefore, a funeral procession will pass through Aldington before heading to the church “as a way of marking Paul’s affection for the area”.
Residents are invited to stand on Forge Hill or New Road Hill between 2.10pm and 2.45pm on Thursday, although Mr Portasio asked them to “respect the villagers and the local area”.
O’Grady lived in Aldington, near Ashford, for more than 20 years and was a well-known face in the village.
According to local media, he attended summer fetes, supported the primary school and last year judged a local dog show held on the village green.
He married Mr Portasio, a former professional dancer, in 2017.