The Magazine for the people of the Arle Valley Benefice is published monthly (except for January). It is on sale at the west end of St John’s Church and at Six West newsagents (both right in the centre of Alresford) from just before the start of the month.
Here we give you a taste of what is in the current issue – we hope you will come and buy a copy. It’s a real bargain at £1.20 with many interesting articles including: our excellent gardening page by Rose Briar; a recipe in Parish Pantry;  information about many local events – and the always amusingly quirky Scenes from Alresford Life. We also publish news of Baptisms, Weddings and Successes to celebrate in People Matter, together with obituaries. There are details of many local events, and you will also find many useful trade advertisements.

Editor’s Letter – November 2019

A New Beginning…

Well, the time has come and we are now officially launching The Arle Valley Voice – a church and community magazine for the people of the Arle Valley Benefice. We aim to have regular contributions from all of the Benefice churches: Old Alresford (St. Mary’s), Ovington (St. Peter’s), Bighton (All Saints) and New Alresford (St. John’s). The Arle Valley Voice embraces any local news, events and activities that might be of interest to our readers.

We hope you enjoy the new colour front cover and this month’s issue has the extra bonus of additional colour pages with photos of recent events. The photo coverage includes the 150 year anniversary of The Avenue (p.11), Ovington & Itchen Stoke Fête (p.15), Apple Day (p.16/17), Soul Survivor (p.18) and the sad announcement that Richard McVeigh, the Director of Music at St. John’s, has decided to resign (p.22).

The Arle Valley Voice would like to take a moment to say a huge thank you to all of our advertisers for their support. Our benefice magazine depends on our advertising revenue to cover its printing costs. It is great to see a number of local businesses begin promoted through our magazine. Please support our advertisers and, when you contact them, mention that you saw their advert in The Arle Valley Voice.

I would like to say thank you to Karen Beecher who quickly stepped into the role of Advertising Coordinator and has done a wonderful job. I am also grateful to Rob Attenborough who has worked with us in formatting the advertising pages.

Did you know that St. John’s costs £3,000 per week to run? We really need your support. St. John’s now can accept donations by text. It is easy to do and it would help St. John’s to continue to serve the community. A donation of £5 can be made by texting arle to 70085. Thank you, your donation is much appreciated.

Best wishes for November.


Penny Forbes (Editor)


Leader Letter

November is the month where we remember those who have died. Our Remembrance Day Service on November is an opportunity for us to remember all those who have died in service for their country and people. Those who were willing to put themselves in harms way for the sake of others. Believing in something that is bigger than themselves. Many people who have given their lives, did so in the belief that somehow their sacrifice would advance justice, peace and humanity itself.

In our Church services, I love the part, where we offer one another a sign of peace. In the gospel of John 14:27, Jesus said ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’. Yet we continue to struggle to live, not just in a world of peace, but with one another in peace. It can be easy to lay blame for this at other people’s feet, but like so many things in life, it starts with us. World peace, may seem a million light years away, but we have to begin by living out peace where we are. In our own communities, homes, families and friendships. Each time we face someone or something we disagree with, choosing to respond with empathy, humanity and respect. Actively taking steps towards reconciliation and restoration, instead of creating division and isolation. When each of us, lives in peace with one another, we change the condition of our communities and build bridges of understanding and tolerance as we learn to live in peace with one another.

This month of Remembrance, in recognition of all those who have given of themselves in the hope of justice and peace, maybe we can take our own steps towards living in peace and harmony with one another, as our own act of remembrance.


Apple Day 2019 @ St. John’s

Although the sun didn’t come out, the rain held off and it was near perfect weather for all things appley. As well as the crushing of apples into fresh apple juice, there were apple hot dogs, cider, cakes, chocolate apples and more. Visitors watched demonstrations of Zumba, Choi Kwang Do and Salsa and as well as performances from Alresford Ukulele Jam, Sun Hill Infant school and the Summer Fun children.

There were lots of apple based activities, competitions and games including Apple heads and  flower arranging using apples and a few that were not apple themed at all, such as bell ringing and Bowling for a Pig!

Special thanks go to Alresford Rotary and Pigs, without whom none of this would have been possible. Also thanks to all those organisations who donated equipment, time, entertainment and money.

Music Notes

It is with great sadness that the Choir of St John’s are saying goodbye to Richard McVeigh on 10 November 2019. We will be singing at the Remembrance Day morning service and our final Evensong will be at 6pm. We will not be singing Faure’s Requiem but there will be a regular Evensong service. It would mean a great deal to us all if you could please come to either or both of these services to support us and show your appreciation and thanks for Richard’s unparalleled service to this church and this Choir during seven years of service as our Organist and Director of Music.

I have been documenting the Choir’s progress since early 2014 and have had the privilege of covering our journey from a competent church choir to one of the finest church choirs in the country. We have been recognised with a special Evensong Reception; discussed on Radio Solent and have toured Winchester, Coventry and Salisbury Cathedrals.

The Choir have become a close-knit, mutually supportive fellowship within St John’s. It has been an extended “family” for me. It is difficult to describe the privilege of singing Faure’s Requiem on Remembrance Sunday; a candlelit service moving through the Church at the start of Advent; Bach’s Wachet Auf at Christmas; Allegri’s Miserere on Ash Wednesday, Stainer’s Crucifixion on Good Friday and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus on Easter Day. These acts of worship with a small group of my closest friends have been some of my happiest times.

For my last Choir Correspondent column, I have asked the Choir for some of their best memories of our times in the last seven years. This is what they came up with:

The unexpected swelling of pride and tears in eyes when our boys (Keith Nightingale, Stephen Brill and Roy Loader) accompanied the opera singer Stephen Gadd in the Toreador chorus from Bizet’s Carmen” (a concert in St John’s).

I’ve never before experienced such a caring supportive group with no ‘divas’.”

Liz losing her glasses and Jan starting the Advent Carol Service from the front of church without Maestro.”

Singing ‘Hail Holy Queen’ from Sister Act at a wedding and the wedding party joining in from the Chancel like a flash mob. Everyone standing up and free-styling.”

The confidence Richard has engendered in individuals which has enabled folk to sing in places they never thought possible.”

The duet in Stainer’s Crucifixion between a very tall bass and a very short tenor.”

Brilliant choir parties with Stephen’s fiendish music quizzes.”

Our weekend away singing at Coventry Cathedral and the fellowship we shared.”

The last time that we sang Stainer’s Crucifixion on Good Friday with the choir taking all the solos. Richard accompanied us on the piano because the organ was broken but it felt intimate and it really worked.”

The worship we shared at the Salisbury Monday evening Eucharist this July.”

The Choir singing a Ruby Wedding tribute to my husband and me in Itchen Stoke, set to the tune of Bach’s Wachet Auf.”

beautiful candle-lit Evensong services at Itchen Stoke Church.”

We have been truly fortunate to have a musician of Richard’s calibre at St John’s. We thank him for his inspiration, dedication, teaching and friendship. I leave you with a selection of pictures of us at St John’s, Salisbury Cathedral, Coventry Cathedral and St Cross Church Winchester.

Choir Correspondent




Churches Together in Alresford

Away Weekend – 13 – 15 March 2020

Due to popular demand, Churches Together in Alresford is returning once again to the Best Western Hotel Royale in Bournemouth for our annual weekend away. If you have not been before, you will find the hotel perched on the East Cliff in Bournemouth town centre, just a 5-minute walk to the beach and the shops. The hotel also has a leisure club, which boasts a large and airy indoor swimming pool. You can see more information by going to the hotel web site Once again, the weekend promises to be great fun, including free time as well as opportunities to get to know each other better with joint study, workshops, worship and social activities (just ask anyone who came last year if you are not sure). Please note however that unless significant number of children register it is not anticipated that there will be any specific children’s activities.

The cost is £175 per adult which represents exceptional value for what is included. Children under 18 are free if sharing a room with a parent. The cost includes bed and breakfast on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March plus a-la-carte dinner on Friday and Saturday, and buffet lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Check-in is after 3pm

on Friday 13th and check-out before 11.00am on Sunday 15th. There is a choice of single, double, twin or family rooms, all of which are en-suite. Full payment will be due by 17th January 2020 at the latest. After this, places may not be guaranteed and it may not be possible to refund payments already made (you may wish to consider travel insurance but this is entirely up to individuals).

We recognise that in some circumstances individuals might find that the cost of the weekend deters them from coming. In order to help with this there may in some circumstances be assistance available with the cost. Please discuss this in confidence with your clergy if you would like to know more.

If you require transport or indeed are able to offer transport to someone then please can you indicate this on the form.

All you need to do now is to complete a registration form and return it to Gary Carter, together with your deposit, to The Shieling, Tichborne Down, Alresford, SO24 9PA. Payments details which may be made by cheque, cash or by bank transfer are shown on the registration form which should be available in church. You may also give your registration form and deposit to your CTIA representative to pass on to Gary. It will be of great help in our planning if you could register as soon as possible and certainly by 31st October.

Should you have any questions regarding the weekend, then please contact Gary by email: or by phone on 01962 732350.