Paul O’Grady would want his friends to have fun at his funeral.
The 67-year-old TV presenter died suddenly last week, but his girlfriend Amanda Mealing insisted he doesn’t want loved ones to be “grumpy” at his death.
She told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “Whatever happens, Paul’s funeral will be a celebration of his life and full of laughter.
“He just told us to have a good time – he would hate it if everyone was grumpy and grumpy. He would just say, “I don’t care, I won’t be here! Do what you want’.”
And actress Amanda – who Paul dubbed “Savage” after his alter-ego Lily Savage – is hoping there will be two funerals for Paul, a small private one for family and friends and a larger life celebration for the general public.
She said: “There may be two funerals.
“A small private and a large one in a very great location for those outside of the family. I think it will be in London.
“Then anyone can come in and it gives people the opportunity to fly in. There are ongoing discussions.
“We also asked, ‘Can we do something in Liverpool?’ because obviously they feel very much like their baby. It is so hard.”
Amanda found out about her boyfriend’s death via text message from his husband Andre Portasio and raced to the couple’s farmhouse in Aldington, Kent, to comfort him.
She said: “Andre texted me at 1am. I woke up from it. I was just deaf. I just couldn’t understand what the lyrics said.
“I just couldn’t understand it. As soon as I pulled myself together, I went down to the house.
“For the past few days we’ve started conversations crying and ended up laughing with tears just because we remembered ridiculous stories!
“The first day we all just walked around in a daze and yesterday I spent the whole day making flower arrangements.
“There were so many flowers and gifts from people. Someone sent a video of a really nice farewell at the Vauxhall Tavern [the iconic London venue]. What got us all was that instead of a moment of silence, they had a moment of cheering and that just threw us all off. It was such a beautiful thing. It just catches you.
“You think you’re fine, and then something like that just hits you.
“It was such a lovely gesture to hear all that noise for him. It was a tremendous comfort to know that he was so loved. And the Queen Consort sending a message of condolences to a Birkenhead kid… speaks volumes. They had a great bond, but what made Savage special was that he treated everyone equally, whether you were related to the Queen or a master builder. He did not care.”