Animals charities pay tribute to Paul O’Grady

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Paul O'Grady with a rescue dog from Battersea

Following the death of TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady, who passed away on Tuesday 29 March aged 67, animal charities are mourning the loss of “a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart“.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Paul’s husband, Andre Portasio, said. “He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

A lifelong dog lover, Paul became an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2012, having filmed ITV’s multi-award-winning For The Love Of Dogs at the Home – highlighting the stories of dogs in search of new homes, and the charity’s work to help them.

“Battersea joins the nation in mourning the loss of Paul O’Grady – an entertainment legend and much-loved Ambassador to our charity,” Battersea Dogs and Cats Home said in a statement. “We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to Paul’s family and friends. To millions Paul O’Grady is the popular TV and radio presenter and comedian who lit up their screens with his razor-sharp humour and perpetual generosity and warmth.

“Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell in love with every dog he met at our centres. Paul will always be associated with Battersea, and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.”

Paul was also awarded the RSPCA Animal Hero Award for his outstanding contribution to animal welfare.

Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said, “Paul O’Grady’s love for animals and the incredible way he told their stories inspired countless families to re-home rescue pets and give them a second chance of happiness.

“His tireless campaigning saw Paul recognised with an RSPCA Animal Hero Award for his outstanding contribution to animal welfare, while he once adopted a little lamb Winston from us who had been rescued from a wheelie bin.

“The thoughts of all at the RSPCA are with his loved ones and our friends at Battersea at this difficult and sad time.”

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