On what would have marked the 11th anniversary of Paul O’Grady MBE becoming an Ambassador for Battersea, we announced plans to help thousands of animals in need with money raised from public donations following his passing.
Almost 20,000 donations were made in Paul’s honour from generous members of the public wanting to pay their respects and express their gratitude. A staggering £480,000 was donated and after consulting with Paul’s closest family and friends, we are now sharing how the money will go towards helping those animals most in need.
In addition to honouring the late presenter by naming our state-of-the-art clinic facilities ‘The Paul O’Grady Veterinary Hospital’, we will spend the funds helping dogs and cats who need specialist care and treatment.
Every year, we invest hundreds of thousands of pounds providing the very best care for animals and, where possible, these animals are treated by our expert veterinary team; however, in some cases external specialists and surgical teams are needed. Battersea will use the tribute fund on life-saving and transformative medical procedures for these animals in their care.
Dogs like two-year-old Newfoundland, Peggy, who Paul met whilst filming the last series of ITV show Paul O’Grady: For the love of Dogs. The presenter followed Peggy’s progress as she underwent life-changing surgery during her time at Battersea before going on to find her forever home.
We will be sharing over a fifth of the funds raised between five other animal charities close to Paul’s heart. Freshfields Animal Rescue, Carla Lane Animals in Need and The Oldies Club, all charities near Paul’s birthplace of Liverpool who will be receiving a gift of £20,000 each along with StreetVet for whom Paul was Ambassador and RSPCA Ashford Garden Cattery where he was President and was local to Paul’s home in Kent.
Chief Executive, Peter Laurie, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed and deeply touched by the generous donations from thousands of people following the death of our beloved Ambassador, Paul O’Grady. It really is a testament to how loved Paul was, and we shall always be forever grateful for everything he did for us. As an Ambassador for Battersea, especially during his 11 years filming For the Love of Dogs, Paul helped animals in their recuperation from surgery, and at times, watched as they headed offsite for specialist surgery; naming our veterinary hospital after Paul, therefore, feels fitting. We are pleased to also be able to share donations with other charities who support rescue animals. Paul was always a champion of the underdog, and we’ll be carrying on his legacy, by ensuring we use the funding to go the extra mile for animals that need costly surgery, medication, or rehabilitation.”
Paul’s husband, Andre Portasio, said: “Seeing how loved Paul was by so many has been truly touching. Paul was so passionate in his support of rescue animals, and 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. I know that Paul would have been pleased to know that the most disadvantaged animals he was so fond of championing are getting the love and support they deserve.”