When is Paul O'Grady funeral? Latest details including the late star's wishes

Everything we know so far

an extreme close up of Paul O'Grady smiling and posing for the camera
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

As tributes and fond memories of the late TV star continue to roll in, many fans want to know more about Paul O'Grady's funeral - from when it will take place to what he wanted for the affair. We share what we know.

March 2023 brought with it the sad passing of Paul O'Grady, aged 67. The news was shared by Paul O'Grady's husband Andre Portasio, who shared that the comedian, TV presenter and beloved drag star (a certain Lily Savage) died "unexpectedly yet peacefully".

Following his death, many fans and friends of the star have paid tribute to the legendary entertainer whose career spanned 30 years in the business. Well thought of and admired by a lot of people, many are curious to learn more about Paul O'Grady's funeral. This is all the information shared so far.

When is Paul O'Grady's funeral?

A private funeral for Paul O'Grady will take place on Thursday 20 April 2023. A funeral procession will take place in Aldington - where Paul lived - between 2:10-2:45pm allowing local villagers to line the streets and pay their respects to the late star.

Paul's husband Andre shared details of the funeral on a local Facebook group, clearly stating that "this information has not been made public, but I wanted to share it with local residents." He explained: "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."

Local residents have been advised to stand on pavements along Roman Road, Forge Hill, or New Road Hill so 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," Andre adds. "Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult time."

Paul's friend of 35 years, actress Amanda Mealing recently spoke out about honouring her late pal. Paul's funeral will ultimately be "a celebration of his life", paying tribute to the man, with much laughter in-between.

"He just told us to have a good time – he’d hate it if everyone was mawkish and morose. He would just say: 'I don’t care, I won’t be here! Do whatever you want'," she told The Mirror.

Where is Paul O'Grady's funeral?

After the procession, Paul O'Grady's funeral will take place at St Martin's Church in Aldington. This will be be a private service attended by invited friends and family.  Mourners will then head to Port Lympne Safari Park for the wake - located a few miles from the late performer's home. 

According to ITV, the kent-based Zoo has been chosen to commemorate Paul's love of animals. O'Grady was a frequent visitor to the animal park and even judged competitions there. It's understood that guests will arrive here after attending the funeral service elsewhere.

The late comic once shared his wishes for his funeral service to take place at a church based in the Romney Marshes in Kent.

Back in November 2017, in his Daily Mail column called The Definite Article, journalist Rob McGibbon asked O'Grady questions about the order of service at his funeral and how he'd want to be remembered. "It would be in one of the ancient churches in the Romney Marshes in Kent," Paul replied, calling them "lovely" places.

Asked where his final resting place would be, the Blankety Blank star followed it up with a on-character quip. "In a glass coffin in a forest surrounded by the seven dwarfs, who would all be in a permanent vigil," he laughed. 

"It would be nice if you were remembered. I would like to be remembered as someone who tried to help animals," he added, on a more serious note. "Just someone who tried to make an effort to help animals."

Paul O'Grady on his funeral wishes

In his interview with journalist Rob McGibbon for the Daily Mail back in 2017, O'Grady admitted to having given his funeral some thought, following on from his series of heart attacks in 2002, 2006 and 2014.

Discussing how he'd want the memorial to go, he admitted to his funeral being "quite elaborate", with a laugh. "It's start off with the Salvation Army band, marching through the streets and playing Nearer My God to Thee. They're such lovely people."

Mourners dressed in "jet black" and "weeping like widows" would be welcomed into the church by musician Jools Holland on piano and his band, accompanied by Sir Tom Jones who would be "belting out" St James' Infirmary (famously covered by Louis Armstrong). 

"I've already asked Jools and he's up for it," he said. "Listen they're all going to be sat there weeping at my funeral. I don't want any of this jolly nonsense."

Jools would be followed by singer Mica Paris, who "would stand up and sing something by Mahalia Jackson," Paul adds nexts. "‘She has a magnificent voice, as has Mica Paris. I love her voice. She would really give it what for. She’s a wonderful voice."

As the service draws to a close, Paul asked to "liven things up a bit. A New Orleans jazz band will play us all out". He requested a rendition of When the Saints go Marching In.

What was Paul O'Grady's cause of death?

Paul O'Grady's cause of death has been confirmed as sudden cardiac arrhythmia (also known as SADS). His official death certificate states this was brought on by his coronary heart disease.

A sudden cardiac arrhythmia is when your heart suddenly stops beating blood around the body, stopping oxygen to the brain and causing the person to stop breathing. 

According to the Express, Paul's death was registered by his long-time friend and former agent Joan Marshrons, who is also listed as secretary for his Buster Productions TV company.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.