ALL creatures great and small were celebrated at a church service in Bournemouth – with the animals in the congregation in full voice.

The annual animal blessing service at St John’s Church, Holdenhurst Village, saw many dogs and a rabbit receive a blessing from vicar Janice Seare.

She said: “This year we had lots of dogs and a rabbit called Coco. In the past we’ve had tortoises, chickens and horses.

“During the first hymn the dogs were barking and yapping and growling – it was so funny. It’s one of the happiest, loveliest services that I do throughout the year.”

Janice has now been holding the service, which is supported by charity Caring Canines, for around 10 years.

She added: “I feel very passionately about animals. It’s a thanksgiving and blessing of year.

“I particularly like to flag up Caring Canines as they do some wonderful work.

“We start off with hymns and prayers and a sermon. I spoke about the animals used in war this year. The film War Horse has made me read up a lot more.

“We hear about dogs working in Afghanistan and the ones that went around the rubble of the Blitz.

“It was giving thanks for the animals that have died over the years. Also, I wanted to flag up Jenny and David Smith, who run Holdenhurst Puppy School in the village hall.

“She helps people with rescue dogs that have got problems.”

Sue Dennett, from Caring Canines, added: “There were dogs of all shapes and sizes and a rabbit that caused the gun dogs a bit of interest!”