Church's plan for purr-fect service

It will be paws in the pews when a different kind of flock take over a Rotherham church on Sunday...

A new breed of congregation will turn out at Whiston’s St Mary Magdalene Church for a special service for pets organised by lay reader Jan Teale.

Pets, other animals and even cuddly toys are welcome, says Jan, who will conduct the service while the rector, the Rev Neil Bowler, looks on.

Jan, who will be taking along her 14-year-old border terrier Storm, explained: “I’ve wanted to do it for years and it’s also to celebrate St Francis’s Day, which was last Monday, as he is the patron saint of animals.

People are very excited about it. It’s not just for animals it’s about celebrating our Lord’s gift of animals.

"They can bring their pets or borrow someone’s else’s pet or bring a cuddly toy, it doesn’t have to be a live animal.

“We are expecting quite a number of pets to be in church but it is also a family service for everyone and the Brownies will also be parading with their flags.”

The service starts at 9.45am and there will be a collection for the RSPCA.