Paul O’Grady funeral date and details as public invited to line Kent streets to mourn late star
Paul O’Grady’s widowed husband has offered locals the chance to say a special farewell
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Details of Paul O’Grady’s funeral have been unveiled as fans are to be invited to line the streets to pay their respects to the late star.
His husband Andre Portasio thanked people for the “overwhelming outpouring of support and love” he has received as he shared details of O’Grady’s funeral on local Facebook groups on Monday.
He confirmed that a private funeral will be held on Thursday (20 April) but a funeral procession will pass through Aldington before heading to the church, as a way of “marking Paul’s affection for the area”.
Locals are invited to attend the public procession and stand on Roman Road, Forge Hill or New Road Hill between 2.10pm and 2.45pm on the day to say goodbye.
Widowed Mr Portasio shared a new photo of O’Grady smiling broadly while wearing white angel’s wings as he confirmed the funeral plans. He wrote: “I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude 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. I’m incredibly grateful for the support and love I have received from our community, and we want to thank each and every one of you for your kindness and generosity.
“As a mark of respect and as Paul would have wanted, we will be holding a private funeral on Thursday, 20th April 2023. This information has not been made public, but I wanted to share it with local residents.
“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.
“We would therefore like to invite all locals to join us in paying our respects to Paul in Aldington Village between 14:10 - 14:45 on Thursday.
“In order to avoid road congestion and public disorder, we kindly ask all residents to treat this invitation personally and if attending to stand on either Roman Road, Forge Hill, or New Road Hill so as to respect the villagers and the local area.
“Please note for public safety Church Road as well as Knoll Hill will be closed on the day of the procession. We kindly ask everyone to respect the family’s wishes and maintain social distancing throughout the event. Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult time.”
A private memorial is also planned for Port Lympne Safari Park, where the 67-year-old was a regular visitor. O’Grady’s family believe he would have wanted the animals he adored to “be around” during his funeral.
Port Lympne is run by the Aspinall Foundation, and home to more than 900 rare and endangered animals, including monkeys, lions and tigers. After his death was announced, the park issued a statement on social media which said: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Paul O’Grady – a local supporter of Port Lympne and the work we do. We were incredibly grateful to have had him visit us.”