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Pet service celebrates all creatures great and small

PUBLISHED: 14:34 28 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:47 28 July 2019

Families gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Tony and Joy Jones with their dog, Beaux. Picture: Archant

Families gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Tony and Joy Jones with their dog, Beaux. Picture: Archant

Archant

Animal lovers came together to celebrate the wonder of pets at a popular annual service.

Families gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Tara Ainslie with her daughters and their tortoise, Starr. Picture: ArchantFamilies gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Tara Ainslie with her daughters and their tortoise, Starr. Picture: Archant

All creatures great and small were at the Parish Church of Saint Mary in Somerleyton this morning, as their owners gathered to give thanks at an informal event dedicated to pets.

Church-goers sang hymns and led biblical readings about the beauty of animal life, before taking it in turns to introduce the paws seated alongside them in the pews.

The church's rector, Glen Brooks, brought the service to a close by blessing the pets and giving thanks for the joy they bring.

Sally Phillips, who lives in Somerleyton, brought along her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Tina.

St Mary's Church rector Glen Brooks oversaw proceedings at the annual pet service in Somerleyton. Picture: ArchantSt Mary's Church rector Glen Brooks oversaw proceedings at the annual pet service in Somerleyton. Picture: Archant

"I just love animals and think they make life so much better," said Mrs Phillips.

"It's lovely seeing people remembering how wonderful animals are because so often they are forgotten. Every year we have a thanksgiving harvest and animals are hardly ever mentioned, despite playing such a big part.

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"All the children loved talking about their pets and it was nice to see such a variety."

Families gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Sally Phillips (right) with her dog, Tina. Picture: ArchantFamilies gathered at St Mary's Church in Somerleyton for the annual pet service. Sally Phillips (right) with her dog, Tina. Picture: Archant

Tony Jones, a regular at the service alongside his wife, Joy, believes having a dog is one of life's essentials.

"It's a lovely service that we enjoy every year and we've brought Beaux along to have him blessed," said Mr Jones.

"Pets give you a routine in your life. With our dog you have to go walking at least once a day come rain or shine, and it gives you that base and grounding in your life that I think you need."

As well as canine companions, the church played host to creatures including tortoises, guinea pigs and rabbits - all of whom did their best to join in with prayers and hymns.

Throughout the service there was a collection for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which helps those across the UK who are blind or partially sighted.

Church warden Mary Truman, who came up with the idea of pet services at St Mary's, added: "Animals are such an important part of our society and I think we should recognise them at least once a year.

"People just love their animals and having one teaches children responsibility and how to care for something, which is what we need in this world."

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