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Paul O'Grady's tribute to Cilla Black

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Paul O'Grady's tribute to Cilla Black

Paul O'Grady says the "light has gone off" since Cilla Black passed away.

The television personality has admitted things haven't been the same for him since the showbiz legend passed away at the age of 72 earlier this month.

Speaking at her funeral in Liverpool today (20.08.15), he shared: "I love this lady dearly, you have no idea. She was one of my closest friends and even if I hadn't spoken to her for some time, we always picked up where we left off when we got together ...

"I don't know what I'm going to do really; the light went off a couple of weeks ago and it hasn't come back on yet. I'm just going to miss her so much. So Cilla, I'd just like to say - thanks for all the fun, thanks for all the laughs."

In the laugh-filled tribute, Paul spoke of his "indestructible" friend, admitting he thought his funeral would be first.

He added: "I firmly believed that Cilla was indestructible and that I'd most definitely go first, the state of my heart.

"In fact, we discussed my funeral at length and she had a major role in it that involved a mantilla and lilies so I'm going to have to rethink that now, aren't I?"

Throughout his glowing tribute, Paul recounted a number of anecdotes about the late 'Blind Date' host, joking that he once introduced her to the "finer things" in New York.

He shared: "I met her on Michael Parkinson's chat show and we just clicked; we were soulmates. And after Bobby [her husband] died, I went for dinner at the house and we sat up 'til five o'clock in the morning and decided to stay with Peter Brown in New York, which we did.

"I introduced her to the finer things in New York like bars, burlesque shows and nightclubs with such a reputation, taxi drivers were always reticent to drop us off. I always use to say to her, 'Give us your jewellery, Cilla'. I had the necklace, the rings, all in my pocket and I permanently had my hand in my pocket, terrified incase I lost it."

Paul also admitted he would always remember Cilla for her "laughter" and the trouble they got into together.

He told the congregation: "But she loved life. If you asked me, 'what do you think about Cilla?', one word - laughter, because that's all we did. We got into a lot of trouble, I'll admit but we laughed whilst we were doing it."