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All God's creatures great and small

Thursday October 7th 2010

British pet owners spend thousands on their beloved animals every year, and now they can have them blessed in an official church service.

St John's Church, in Forton Road, Gosport, and St Mary's Church, in Alverstoke, recently played host to ceremonies for animals of all shapes and sizes, and the services also included animal-friendly songs and prayers.

Reverend Canon Ted Goodyer, who led the service at St Mary's Church, said: "The idea came around seven years ago from children at Sunday school.

"They thought it would be nice for pets to get blessed - after all we love our animals as much as each other.

"So we hold the service each year on the weekend of the Feast of St Francis, who was the patron saint of animals."

Mother Carrie Thompson, vicar of Saint John's, added: "This is a church for everyone, and that includes our animal friends.

"Everything's welcome, from hamsters to horses, I'll even bless tarantulas - as long as I don't have to get too close."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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