Inside St Rumwold's church in Aldington where Paul O'Grady's funeral is taking place

The church was built in the 12th century. Credit: ITV Meridian

Celebrity friends of Paul O’Grady have begun to arrive for the TV star’s funeral.

Close friends and family were invited to the service, which was due to begin shortly after 3pm this afternoon (20 April).

Among those invited were Jo Brand, Peter Tatchell, Gaby Roslin, Alan Carr and Ronnie Wood.

The church dates back to the 12th century where it was built by the Normans.

The exterior of the church. Credit: ITV Meridian

Reverend Canon Roger Martin welcomed family and friends including comedian Julian Clary, actress Dame Sheila Hancock, and the late Dame Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell.

Comedian and TV presenter Jo Brand arrived with soap star Cheryl Fergison, followed by actress Linda Henry, who plays Shirley Carter in EastEnders.

LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell wore a purple shirt and black tie, while TV presenter Gaby Roslin sported an all-black ensemble as she entered the Grade I-listed church.

Celebrity chef Andi Oliver and Coronation Street star Sally Lindsay were among the mourners petting the animals.

Many famous faces showed up to pay their respects.

Personal notes from his family, including his daughter, Sharyn Mousley, were left outside today, attached to wreaths of lilies, in an apparent nod to the star’s famous drag alter ego, Lily Savage.

A trio of puppies from the Battersea Dogs And Cats Home also greeted friends and family arriving for the funeral.

Guests were welcomed to the Church in the Kent village of Bonnington by sombre music from the Salvation Army Band.

The service opened with the sound of trumpets before You Gotta Get A Gimmick from the 1959 musical Gypsy, featuring lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, played.

O’Grady memorably gave a risque performance of the song in character as Lily Savage alongside Cilla Black and Dame Barbara Windsor at the 2001 Royal Variety Performance.

The entrance music was Meditation from the opera Thais by French composer Jules Massenet, a dramatic piece written for a solo violin and orchestra.

When he appeared on Desert Island Discs in 2003, he chose this as his favourite of all his musical choices.

Later in the service, the song Una Notte A Napoli by the Latin and jazz orchestra Pink Martini was heard.

Pink Martini, formed in 1994 in America by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, were a favourite of O’Grady’s and he often played them on his BBC Radio 2 show.

This was followed by the theme from British television drama series Upstairs Downstairs.

Andre Portasio, Paul's Husband, arrives at the church with Maltese Conchita. Credit: ITV Meridian

The funeral procession moved through the village while hundreds of well-wishers looked on.

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

Nine limousines followed with a cortege including motorbikes behind them.

O’Grady, who rose to fame as Lily Savage before going on to host a string of television programmes as himself, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” at his home on March 28 at the age of 67.

Born in Birkenhead on the Wirral, Merseyside, he later adopted Kent as his home for more than 20 years.