RABBITS, guinea pigs and a Shetland pony were among the animals that took part in a more unusual church service on Sunday.

Pets and their owners filled St Michael’s Church, Llanvihangel Crucorney, near Abergavenny, to capacity to be blessed by the Rev Derek Lee and his colleague, Rev Derek Young.

Youngsters were among those to bring their pets to the short service, which included three hymns and an address about unconditional love and how important God’s creatures are to us.

Ellie, a Shetland pony from Triley Fields, near Abergavenny, was among those to make their way to the altar to be blessed with rosemary and holy water, as well as blessings taking place around the congregation.

One of the regular visitors to the annual service, which has been held since 2009, was Bundle, a 16-year-old dog from Mardy.

Sian Lloyd, a parishioner and trustee of Monmouth’s Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies, organises the event.

She said: “It was a delightful service and wonderful to see so many youngsters, together with our regular congregation, bringing their pets along.

“The church was the fullest it has ever been for pet blessings, held to coincide with World Animal Welfare Day, which is held on October 4.”