Tortoises and guinea pigs among guests of honour at quirky Killinghall church service

Pet blessing at St Thomas's Church. The Rev Chrissy Wilson with members of the congregation and their dogs. (1809161AM1).
Pet blessing at St Thomas's Church. The Rev Chrissy Wilson with members of the congregation and their dogs. (1809161AM1).

Tortoises, dogs and guinea pigs were among the guests of honour to attend a quirky church service in Killinghall on Sunday.

St Thomas’s Church hosted a pet blessing ceremony, and the idea was a hit with residents. Their vicar, the Rev Chrissy Wilson, came up with the idea after hearing schoolchildren mentioning pets a lot whenever they talked about their families.

Pet blessing at St Thomas's Church. The Rev Chrissy Wilson with Grace Ramsden (10), with guinea pigs Chestnut and Hazelnut and Sally Cocker with her tortoise Shelly. (1809161AM2)

Pet blessing at St Thomas's Church. The Rev Chrissy Wilson with Grace Ramsden (10), with guinea pigs Chestnut and Hazelnut and Sally Cocker with her tortoise Shelly. (1809161AM2)

She said: “We had a wonderfully uplifting pet blessing service, with pet owners touched and delighted to be welcomed into church with their much-loved pets.

“We are very keen to let people know that the church is here for them, and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to invite people in, as well as providing a calm and peaceful environment for prayer and worship.”

Although church may have seemed a bit noisier and more chaotic than usual, the event enjoyed a great turnout and proved very popular.

Upcoming events at the church to mark the Harvest Festival

October 5 - Killinghall C of E Primary School Choir concert, 5 to 6pm, with refreshments from 4.30pm. And at 7.30pm, St Aidan's C of E High School's Symphonic Wind Band will be performing, and there will be wine and nibbles in the interval.

October 6 - the church will be open from 10am for people to view the harvest festival displays, with organists playing between 1.30 and 4pm on the church's newly-restored organ, during which coffee and cake will be served. At 7.30pm there will be a bring and share harvest supper with entertainment by the Killinghall Village Voices.

October 7 - Service of Holy Communion at 9.30am followed by refreshments, and at 4pm to 5.30pm, there will be a favourite hymns and tea and cake event - people can vote for their favourite hymns in church. The top eight will be chosen and people will sing together, with a break for coffee and cake.

Throughout the weekend, the church will be collecting non-perishable food items and toiletries in support of the Harrogate Homeless Project.