Petition for Paul O’Grady statue in Birkenhead reaches 100,000 signatures

The number of signatures on a petition calling for the construction of a statue of Paul O’Grady in his birthplace of Birkenhead has reached 103,000 at the time of writing.

Last week, Paul O’Grady, the presenter and comedian who gained fame in the 1990s with his drag queen character Lily Savage, died at the age of 67.

The star, known for his lifetime of service to animals, LGBT rights, and social causes, has been the subject of a change.org petition calling for a statue of Paul O’Grady to be erected in his hometown of Birkenhead.

The petition was initiated by fan Kieran Gabriel, who believes that a tribute in the place where Paul grew up would be a fitting memorial.

birkenhead.news spoke to Kieran who was also born and raised in Birkenhead. He said, “The petition has blown up in a way I wasn’t expecting, very exciting!

“I have always been a fan of Paul, he was always on TV when I was younger and definitely a household name, and seeing someone famous from Birkenhead was quite rare. Him being such a trailblazer with Lily Savage, in addition to his political/social activism and his dedicated love of dogs.”

David Armstrong, Assistant Chief Executive of Wirral Council, said, “It has been wonderful to see such an outpouring of love and warmth for Paul O’Grady following the sad news of his death, along with the many donations directed to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, a charity we all know from his television work was close to his heart.

“At the moment here in Wirral we are working on honouring Paul’s life, career and the causes he championed, including through a fitting celebration as part of our Borough of Culture events next year.”

Kieran told us that he thought it was an obvious idea and was surprised that a similar petition hadn’t already been started. “Liverpool has so many statues of iconic figures that I think Birkenhead deserves its own,” he said.

Kieran concluded by saying, “I have no idea of the logistics of making something like this happen but ideally, someone will come forward and allow us to fund this to happen!”

You can sign the petition by visiting https://www.change.org/p/a-paul-o-grady-statue-in-his-hometown-of-birkenhead

The next stage in this process is to secure funding to be able to commission the statue. Kieran has consulted with a reputable sculptor and foundry and has set a fundraising target of £70k, a high figure but one which he feels is achievable.

You can donate here if you wish: https://gofund.me/1cdaa1a5

Image: Flickr user Steve Punter, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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