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Paul O'Grady laid to rest next to ex-partner and ‘best mate’ Brendan Murphy

Paul O'Grady laid to rest next to ex-partner and ‘best mate’ Brendan Murphy

The beloved TV presenter was laid to rest next to his ex-partner, who sadly died back in 2005

Paul O'Grady was laid to rest next to his former partner and 'best mate' Brendan Murphy yesterday in an emotional send off for the beloved TV star.

O'Grady died unexpectedly at the age of 67 last month on 28 March, and yesterday people at his home village in Kent took the opportunity to pay their respects to him one final time.

His funeral was a private and intimate ceremony held at St Rumwold’s Church, Bonnington in Kent on Thursday afternoon (20 April), conducted by Reverend Canon Roger Martin before mourners went to a wake at Port Lympne Safari Park.

Paul O'Grady sadly and unexpectedly died at the age of 67.

It has since emerged that O'Grady was buried next to the grave of his former partner, Brendan Murphy, who sadly died at Charing Cross Hospital in 2005 due to an inoperable brain tumour.

Brendan and O' Grady were together for 25 years, and been with each other through thick and thin - even calling themselves 'best mates'.

O'Grady paid tribute to his ex-partner when he died, saying: “I’d lost my best mate, someone who’d been in my life for 25 years and saw me through the days when I was lucky to earn £50 for standing on a beer crate in the corner of a pub telling jokes.

"Murph and I were like brothers – joined at the hip, thick as thieves. It transcended any sexual relationship we’d had. This was a partnership. A double act, Emma Peel and Steed, Laurel and Hardy."

His funeral was a private ceremony held at St Rumwold’s Church, Bonnington in Kent
David Hare / Alamy Stock Photo

He added: "We were both 49, barely able to believe what we’d achieved – I’d just won a BAFTA for the Paul O’Grady Show – and then suddenly bang, he’s gone.

"Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. To watch someone you love - a healthy, eloquent man - unable to speak or walk is hideous."

Yesterday's funeral procession was led by his husband Andre Portasio, who he met after the death of Brendan. The pair got married in 2017.

Andre rode the carriage with a decorated wreath of their late dog Buster and one of their other dogs, Conchita, on his lap.

Ahead of the service, thousand of mourners including dogs from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home - of which O'Grady was a patron - lined up the street to see the procession of nine limousines followed by a cortège including motorbikes.

The service was 'moving' yet 'jolly', and included a eulogy from actor Julian Clary and a reading from Lord Michael Cashman.

O' Grady's funeral procession was led by his husband Andre Portasio
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Mr Martin, the vicar who conducted the service, told the PA news agency: “The mood was very jolly. There were some recordings of Paul, favourite clips, a good selection of varied music, it was lighthearted.

"It was a moving occasion. It was a very fitting send off."

He described Clary’s eulogy as 'very entertaining', saying: “He spoke quite a lot about their stage life together.”

Before the funeral, Portasio told the local community on Facebook that they would be welcome to pay their respects to the entertainer, thanking them for the 'overwhelming outpouring of love and support' he'd received.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady / PA

Topics: UK News, Celebrity