British drag icon Paul O’Grady, known for his alter ego Lily Savage, was posthumously honored by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with the naming of a veterinary hospital in his memory. Paul, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 67, had transitioned from his entertainment career to become a prominent advocate for animal welfare, particularly through his long-running TV series “For The Love of Dogs.” Battersea had named him an ambassador in 2012, and he had filmed 11 seasons of the show at the center.
Paul O’Grady’s Legacy in Animal Welfare
Throughout his association with Battersea, Paul O’Grady actively contributed to the recovery of animals after surgery and supported their specialist surgical needs. Following his passing, a tribute fund was established, with thousands of donations totaling £480,000 ($AU921,600), benefiting Battersea and other animal rights charities. Peter Laurie, CEO of Battersea, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love for Paul, stating, “It’s a testament to how loved Paul was.” In honor of his dedication, Battersea will now name its clinic facilities “The Paul O’Grady Veterinary Hospital.”
Champion of the Underdog
Peter Laurie further noted, “Paul was always a champion of the underdog, and we’ll be carrying on his legacy.” Paul’s husband, André Portasio, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Paul’s passion for rescue animals. André said, “Paul was so passionate in his support of rescue animals. It gives me some comfort to know that through the hard work and commitment of Battersea and other charities, Paul’s legacy will live on.”
A Memorable Farewell
In a touching anecdote, André Portasio shared a poignant moment from Paul’s final hours, revealing that they shared a marijuana joint at their home before Paul peacefully passed away. André recalled, “That was our last time together, the last thing we did. He passed away there in his chair.” This week, hundreds of Paul’s friends and loved ones gathered for a star-studded memorial gathering, celebrating the life and legacy of the beloved LGBTQ icon and animal advocate.