Birkenhead turn out to celebrate life of TV presenter and comedian Paul O'Grady

  • Video report by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith

Fans of the late Paul O'Grady and their dogs have turned out in Birkenhead - the comedian's hometown - as his funeral took place in Kent.

The 67-year-old, whose drag persona was the legendary Lily Savage, died unexpectedly at the end of March of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

Mourners and their pets lined the streets of Aldington, the village he called home for two decades, as O'Grady made his final journey.

In Birkenhead, many more paid their final respects, describing the comedian and animal-lover as a "wonderful man" who had a "heart of gold".

One mourner dressed her beloved dog Teddy as his alter-ego Lily Savage, sewing a leopard print hat and harness.

She said: "He had an incredible personality and millions of people will remember him, always. He was a gorgeous person."

Another woman who took time out of her day to remember Paul O'Grady said the comedian and presenter meant "everything" to Birkenhead.

"He just had a natural affinity with animals and with people and I can't believe his dead", she said. "He was a wonderful man who will be sadly missed."

A carriage drawn by two black horses carried his coffin, which was draped with a floral wreath in the shape of his own beloved dog, Buster.

His husband Andre Portasio was emotional as he rode on the carriage with one of couple’s dogs on his lap.

Paul was renowned for his love of animals and spent years working with Battersea Dogs and Cats home to rehome animals.

In his honour, Battersea had a 'guard of honour' of six dogs that Paul helped whilst working with the charity.

Following his death, the rescue charity set up a “tribute fund” which has raised more than £270,000 for the charity.

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