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Paul O’Grady has received the “highest honour” after Wirral Council voted to award him the Freedom of the Borough for his “exceptional contribution”.
The Regulatory and General Purposes Committee unanimously recommended the legendary entertainer for the award which goes to “persons of distinction who have rendered eminent service to the borough”.
The comedian will posthumously receive the honour at a full council meeting on July 10 where all councillors will vote on the proposal. A ceremony with members of his family and invited guests will also happen at a later date, Liverpool Echo reports.
Paul’s husband Andre Portasio is “over the moon” by the news.
In a post shared to the Lily Savage star’s Instagram, a spokesperson said: “The family would like to thank the then council leader Cllr Janette Williamson, who put forward the motion and all those who supported and voted for it.
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“The boy from Birkenhead! Paul would no doubt be surprised but very pleased with this honour.”
Council officer Kris Cureton said: “This is a very significant step for the Council to take. Very few people have been awarded this status and it should only be awarded to someone who has made an exceptional contribution to the Borough.”
Previous recipients of the award have included the Hillsborough 97 and former MP Baron Frank Field of Birkenhead.
Fans of Paul were quick to celebrate the news, with Sangeeta commenting: “Wonderful way to pay tribute to a one of a kind man.”
Actress Amanda Mealing echoed: “How lovely. He will always be remembered.”
While Sue said: “It’s well deserved but it would have been nice to award it when he was alive.”
And Chantelle added: “It would be lovely to see a statue of him holding Buster outside Battersea Dogs home. He was such a lovely caring man and so loved by the public.”
Paul’s family received more happy news this week after the House of Lords launched a campaign dedicated in memory of the late presenter.
The #ApologiseNow! campaign will “get police to apologise for their past witch-hunting of the LGBTQ+ community”.
Paul had supported the move before his death in March and a launch event on Wednesday was attended by Andre.
Following Paul’s death, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition for a statue to be built in his hometown Birkenhead.
In an update from the council last month, a spokesperson said they are considering a “range of great ideas and offers from local artists and communities”.
David Armstrong, Assistant Chief Executive, added: “We will, of course, wish to discuss all plans with Paul’s family, friends and supporters in time.”