A CHURCH in Broadstone will host a Vicar of Dibley-style pets service next month.

St John’s Church on Macaulay Road will throw its doors open to all creatures great and small on Sunday, October 13.

The service, which is being called Wet Nose Sunday, will take place at 3pm.

Revd Helen Bailey, vicar at St John’s Church, said: “Having a service to bless animals has quite a tradition in the Church of England.

“I’m sure many of you will have seen the episode in Vicar of Dibley where the Reverend Geraldine does just that, and not just pets but farm animals are brought into the church. Animals have always played a role in favourite bible stories.

“Think about our nativity scenes: they just wouldn’t be the same without the oxen, donkeys, lambs, and whatever else might creep into the stable to be present at the birth of God’s Son.”

All are welcome to the “short and simple” service and there will even be a special dog section on one side of the church, so animals such as cats and rabbits that view dogs with caution can sit separately.

People are asked to take their pets along in an appropriate box, basket, bowl, cage or on a leash.

Revd Bailey said: “This time of the year is traditionally a time when the Church celebrates Creationtide, the beauty of our earth and the amazing variety of life, including the animals with whom we share our world.

“This is a great opportunity to give thanks for the pets who bring such warmth, affection and love into our lives. Owning pets has always felt good for the soul: it teaches us to care and show compassion, which has to be a good thing."

The service will end with a special blessing for the animals.

It is hoped Wet Nose Sunday will become an annual tradition.