Monday, 24 June 2024
UK Charity Week 2024 - Sponsored by Sinclair Method UK
Monday, 24 June 2024

Battersea pays tribute to its devoted Ambassador Paul O’Grady

BATTERSEA has joined the nation in mourning the loss of Paul O’Grady – an entertainment legend and much-loved Ambassador who helped raise the profile of Battersea to millions around the world through the hugely popular ITV series Paul O’Grady for the Love of Dogs.

Battersea Chief Executive, Peter Laurie said:

“To many, Paul O’Grady was the immensely 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 head over heels 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 had an extremely hands-on approach as a Battersea Ambassador and has been fundamental in helping our charity to communicate important campaign messages. He was a champion for the underdog and would do anything to ensure all animals live healthy and happy lives. He will be dearly missed.”

Paul O’Grady’s close association with Battersea began when the comedian began filming the Bafta-nominated ITV series Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs. Interviewed during the first series in September 2012, Paul said:

‘Hand on heart. This has been one of the nicest jobs I’ve ever had. Battersea is a magical place. People think it’s all doom and gloom but it’s not, it’s such a happy place. I’ve had a ball. It’s such an enriching place to work and I’m coming back. They can’t get rid of me. Once I became really involved, I’d go home and worry about the dogs. I’d be ringing friends saying, ‘I’ve found a lovely dog for you’. The aim of the game for me became to rehome these dogs. To show all the work that Battersea does but also, to get people interested. Genuine people who are looking for a dog, come here. I’d like to see, at the end of the day, this place empty. All go off to nice homes. Hopefully, after watching the programmes, that’s what’s going to happen.’

There’s no doubt that Paul’s influence has helped thousands of rescue animals find new homes. By spending time with these animals and showing their quirks and loveable qualities, he showed rescue animals really are the best pets. It was during the filming of the first series that Paul rehomed the first of his own Battersea rescues when he fell in love with his beloved Eddie, a Chihuahua Jack Russell cross puppy. Eddie was later joined on Paul’s Kent farm by Boycie, a Shih-Tzu in 2014, Conchita, a Maltese in 2015, Arfur, a Mongrel puppy in 2017, Nancy, a Mongrel puppy in 2020, and Sausage, a Wire-haired Dachshund in 2021.

Over a decade, Paul’s passion for all things dog came out in eleven series of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, set at Battersea. The ITV series picked up multiple awards over the years for its blend of laughter and tears. Paul met all manner of dogs – and the odd cat – visited children’s hospitals, Crufts, the homeless, and residential homes with his canine companions, and in the process helped Battersea and rescue centres nationwide find homes for thousands of homeless animals. Most recently, he joined Battersea’s Patron Her Majesty The Queen Consort to promote rescue animals in a Royal Special of ‘POGDOGS’ aired on 19 December 2022 to around three million viewers.

Battersea’s Ali Taylor who appeared alongside Paul in the series said:

“During the filming of the series Paul met hundreds if not thousands of dogs but never lost that infectious enthusiasm and interest in getting to know them all individually. During filming, we’d be in fits of laughter but Paul’s passion for the dogs shone through, and I think that’s what made the series so popular all over the world. Viewers could see how genuinely he became attached to each and every dog. One minute he’d be fighting back tears at a desperately sad case, the next he’d be laughing while covered in dog slobber or mischievous puppies, but one thing is for certain, he’d deeply care about them all. He’d always say to us ‘that’s one more for me to worry about and keep me up at night.’”

The immensely popular series was broadcast all over the world from Canada to Poland, New Zealand to Singapore, and as a result letters and emails of support come into Battersea from all corners of the world – some simply addressed ‘Paul O’Grady’. In 2018 the National Television Awards recognised the series’ impact on helping find homes for rescue centres nationwide when it awarded Paul a Special Recognition Award.

Peter finished:

“Paul loved Battersea so much and we cannot thank him enough for everything he did for our charity and for rescue animals worldwide. We will forever be indebted to him for his endless generosity and support.”

WEEKLY DIGEST

Join our FREE mailing list and receive our Weekly Digest bulletin and other updates direct to your inbox.

Related News

Skip to content