Battersea Dogs and Cats Home sees donations pass £100,000 after Paul O’Grady’s death

Following the death of Paul O’Grady, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has seen donations pass £100,000.

Battersea said it has been “overwhelmed and touched” by the public’s generosity in donating to its “tribute fund”.

O’Grady, who became an ambassador for Battersea in 2012 after the success of ITV’s multi-award-winning For The Love of Dogs, died unexpectedly on Tuesday (28 March) at the age of 67.

Peter Laurie, chief executive of the charity, said in a statement to the PA news agency: “Over the coming weeks and months, Battersea will be finding the best way to pay tribute to our wonderful friend and ambassador, the late, great Paul O’Grady MBE.

“We have been overwhelmed and touched by the countless letters, calls, emails and messages of support along with the generous donations made by kind members of the public this week.

“We will be looking to find a suitably fitting way to remember the profound impact Paul had at Battersea and the rescue animal sector, something that will support the animals that Paul loved so much and that would make him proud.”

O’Grady was given a special recognition award at the 2018 National Television Awards for the impact For The Love Of Dogs had on helping find homes for rescue animals nationwide.

He was also recognised with an RSPCA animal hero award for his contribution to animal welfare.

Last year, the late comedian was joined by the Queen Consort in a one-off episode of the show to mark 160 years of Battersea.

Camilla shared her sympathies with O’Grady’s family privately, Buckingham Palace said in statement.

Camilla with Paul O’Grady in 2022 (Getty Images)
Camilla with Paul O’Grady in 2022 (Getty Images)

The royal family’s Twitter account paid tribute with a photograph of Camilla walking beside him. The statement read: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, who worked closely with Her Majesty in support of Battersea, providing lots of laughter and many waggy-tailed memories.”

Other animal rescue charities and organisations also paid tribute to the star, who was known for his drag alter ego, Lily Savage.

Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said that the actor’s “love for animals and the incredible way he told their stories inspired countless families to re-home rescue pet”, while Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, added that O’Grady was “a devoted dog love, which shone through his charity work and his television shows”.

During the first series of For The Love of Dogs, O’Grady rehomed Eddie, a Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross puppy, at his Kent farmhouse.

He also adopted Boycie, a shih-tzu, in 2014, Conchita, a Maltese, in 2015, Arfur, a mongrel puppy, in 2017, Nancy, another mongrel puppy, in 2020, and Sausage, a wire-haired dachshund, in 2021.

In tribute to the late comedian and TV star, O’Grady’s final radio show will be rebroadcast on Easter Sunday, after it originally aired on Boom Radio on Christmas Day last year.

BBC One will air a past episode of game show Blankety Blank on Saturday night, which features O’Grady as Lily Savage.

Additional reporting by PA