'He felt like a family member': Aldington residents pay tribute to 'older brother' Paul O'Grady

Paul moved to the village 22 years ago. Credit: PA

Residents in the village of Aldington have paid tribute to Paul O'Grady ahead of his funeral this afternoon (20 April).

The TV star moved to the village 22 years ago where he became a 'family member to everyone'.

Aldington is home to just over 1,500 people and Paul quickly became a cherished and loved member of the community.

He frequently visited the village pub, The Walnut Tree, where he would chat with residents and enjoy a drink.

The Walnut Tree in Aldington. Credit: ITV Meridian

Karen Barrett, the pub landlord, told ITV Meridian that Paul was an 'amazing man' and he 'felt like a brother'.

"He'd do anything for anybody", she said. "When covid happened he phoned up and he actually asked me was I financially okay did I need any help?"

"I started crying... he said shut up you silly cow stop crying, you know, he helped us."

"He put us on the Pride of Britain awards... he'd do things that people didn't notice, but we did and it meant a lot to us."

Karen Barrett tells ITV Meridian how Paul worked tirelessly to help the local community.

Karen, who is from the Midlands, added that Paul made everyone feel like they were part of his 'big family'.

Today the pub is throwing a bake sale, after locals came together to bake cakes all day and all night.

All funds are going to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Karen added.

"It is absolutely the apt thing to do for Paul", she said. "He'd love the bunting, he'd love it all."

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