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Brantham's creatures ... great and small

PUBLISHED: 14:37 20 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

ON a wet Sunday morning in Brantham you could be forgiven for thinking you had walked on to the set of the Vicar of Dibley.

At 11am at Brantham Church there was Sunday service, it was no ordinary service, but a thanksgiving for all the animals in the parish … a kind of pet worship.

ON a wet Sunday morning in Brantham you could be forgiven for thinking you had walked on to the set of the Vicar of Dibley.

At 11am at Brantham Church there was Sunday service, it was no ordinary service, but a thanksgiving for all the animals in the parish … a kind of pet worship.

Rev Sharon Swaine, who took the

service, has only been at the church since February but Dawn French, who plays the part of the Rev Geraldine Granger in the hit TV comedy show, has got nothing on her.

The service was held outside under a large marquee and many keen pet

owners had brought along their dogs to enjoy this slightly unique take on

morning worship.

Worshippers sang robustly to the

animal-themed hymns, undeterred by the rain, although some of the animals looked a little forlorn.

Rev Swaine said of the service: "I have been doing these services for about 17 years and they have always been

popular.

"There is a serious point to this as well as we are all affected by animals and they are very important to people, they deserve to be treated well and have our respect."

Although the recipients of this goodwill refused to comment, their owners were only too happy.

Rosemary Secretan, of Brantham, had brought her dogs Tessa and Josy and she praised the day.

"We are here because we have dogs and we love them, it is a lovely idea but such a shame it rained."

Many people who came admitted they only go to church occasionally and it seemed to bring a lot of interested

people along.

Others were more serious about their reasons.

One man who had brought his dog said: "My dog Fred got run over and this was one of the first places I brought him so that he could be blessed."

Whatever your beliefs, the service seemed to unite people and offer an alternative reason for attending church.

It was village life at its best, when the quaint collided with the slightly

eccentric and everyone left feeling uplifted.

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