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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
Tortoises attend Sunday service
An African snail, dogs, cats and tortoises attended a special Sunday church service set up by a woman who wants more recognition for animals.

Pets, along with their proud owners, received a blessing from the Reverend David Hodgson, rector of All Saints Church in Wokingham, Berkshire.

Marcelle Williams, 76, who has been organising pet services for 17 years, holds a civic award for her work.

MP John Redwood was at the service, whose congregation included hamsters.

Ms Williams, of Wokingham, who is also a pet bereavement befriender, explained: "I have loved animals all my life and I am concerned about the level of recognition animals have in society.

"Pets give confidence and support to children and camaraderie to adults.

"People can relate to animals where they cannot relate to human beings."

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