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Paul O'Grady's dying wish for loved ones at funeral revealed by best friend Amanda Mealing

Daily Express logo Daily Express 02/04/2023 Kathryn Ingate
Rainbow Honours 2022 © Getty Rainbow Honours 2022

Grange Hill star Amanda Mealing, 55, said Paul O'Grady only left one vital instruction for his funeral.

The Lily Savage star's best friend spoke out on his final wish just days after the sad news of his death at the age of 67 broke last week.

BBC's Casualty actress revealed that Paul had previously confided in her and their group of pals on how he would like friends and family to act during his funeral.

Amanda told The Mirror: "Whatever happens, Paul's funeral will be a celebration of his life and it will be full of laughter.

"He just told us to have a good time - he'd hate it if everyone was mawkish and morose.

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Paul O'Grady © GETTY Paul O'Grady Chelsea Flower Show 2022 - Celebrity Arrivals © Getty Chelsea Flower Show 2022 - Celebrity Arrivals

Paul O'Grady "took on more work than ever" before his "unexpected" death, which has devastated his famous friends and fans alike.

The presenter and comedian's death was confirmed today by the star's husband Andre Portasio, who said he died "unexpectedly but peacefully".

One source has now spoken out on the beloved star's death, highlighting his huge workload in the months prior to his death.

"He would just say: 'I don't care, I won't be here! Do whatever you want'."

Amanda shared Paul's dying wish after admitting that although she and his other friends were left gutted over losing him, they also shared tears of laughter due to memories of the star's "ridiculous" antics.

Further discussing plans for Paul's send-off, Amanda added to the publication: "There may be two funerals.

"A small private one and a big one in a very grand place for those outside the family. I would think it'll be in London.

Paul O'Grady © GETTY Paul O'Grady

"Then everyone can come to that and it gives people a chance to fly in. There are ongoing conversations.

"We've also been asking: 'Can we do something in Liverpool?' because obviously they very much feel he's their baby. It's so difficult."

Amanda then welled up with tears as she recalled how she found out about her friend's death.

Paul's husband Andre Portasio had texted her to share the heartbreaking news in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Once she had composed herself, Amanda rushed to the couple's home in Aldington, Kent, to give her support to Paul's grieving widow.

Future Dreams International Women's Day Tea At The Arts Club © Getty Future Dreams International Women's Day Tea At The Arts Club

Amanda divulged: "Andre sent me a text at 1am. I woke up to it. I was just numb. I just couldn't comprehend what the text had said."

"Over the last few days, we've started conversations crying and end up laughing with tears just remembering ridiculous stories!"

Amanda also spoke to Paul on the phone just days before he died, sharing "he was feeling great" following a holiday to Thailand.

While comforting Paul's other half, the actress said: "This could have happened with him alone in a hotel room on tour somewhere obscure.

"Instead, he was at home in the place he loved with the person he loved."


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