The Magazine for the people of the parishes of New Alresford and Ovington 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; an update of the music-making at St John’s; 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.


Editorial from May copy of The Magazine


For most people in the UK, the month of May is associated with two highly anticipated bank holidays. In Alresford, however, folks take things one step further to help maximise their leisure enjoyment in the form of The Alresford Watercress Festival (Sunday 19th May).

When I moved to Hampshire, I have to admit I was a bit perplexed as to why the humble watercress received so much attention. Egg and cress sandwich – tasty. Watercress soup – warms the cockles. A delicate watercress scone – filling and yummy. But a festival?

After learning more about the history of the watercress industry in Alresford and its integral role in shaping the town, I realised that the Watercress Festival is, indeed, a fitting tribute. I am glad to see a vegetable as delicious and versatile as watercress getting its fair dues!

If you are out and about at the Watercress Festival, please stop in and enjoy the warm hospitality of the friendly volunteers at the St. John’s Watercress Cafe in the John Pearson Hall. The Alresford Community Choir will also be performing a concert at St. John’s at 1pm. See page 5 for more festival details.

This month’s magazine is chock full of interesting articles – ranging from recalling past events to looking forward to potential new experiences, as well as enjoying the present. I hope you are able to take some time out and have a relaxing look through the magazine with a cup of tea (watercress blend?).

The fun photos from the Mothering Sunday Breakfast Service (page 16) will definitely put a smile on your face!

All the best.


Penny Forbes (Editor)



Leader from May copy of The Magazine

Leader: How long did it take you to eat all your Easter eggs?

……….A day?….. A week? …A month?

Did you know that we are still in what the church calls ‘Eastertide’?

The resurrection of Jesus, his coming back from the dead, means such a lot to Christians that we love to keep on celebrating it with lots of Alleluias!

Eastertide lasts from Easter Day (this year it was April 21st) to Pentecost, which will be June 9th, so that is 50 days…hence PENT-ecost!

But this month has a special date in it too. May 30th is Ascension day which comes 40 days after Easter day. There is a book called ‘Acts’ in the Bible which tells what happened after Jesus came back to life and in the first Chapter it says,

‘For forty days after his death he appeared to them many

times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive’

(Acts 1:3).

So Ascension is the day when we remember Jesus’ return to heaven after his resurrection, and Pentecost is when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples. After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited as Jesus had told them to, for what He had promised them; the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is often called the ‘birthday of the Church’ because they got the empowering gift of the Spirit which caused thousands to believe and the first church to be born and multiply as well as many miraculous events….The book of Acts is not for the faint-hearted!

I plan to say more about the Holy Spirit next month but, like those first Christians, the Church’s reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing. Through the centuries Christians have gathered to pray during the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost and a recent initiative called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition. It offers us an opportunity to focus on praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit for ourselves, our friends and our communities. Over the past three years ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ has become a global movement of all denominations of Christians with over 88 countries taking part. Archbishop Justin Welby says, “In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.”

All the Churches Together in Alresford are united in praying this May 31st-June 9th. Do look out for the branded information and activities …..and DO JOIN US AT THE CHURCHES TOGETHER PENTECOST CELEBRATION JUNE 9TH 6pm AT ST JOHNS…….with Birthday cake and tea from 5pm !



Mothering Sunday Breakfast Service @ St. John’s

The Mothering Sunday celebrations this year were the most meaningful I have attended. Whoever decided the men of the young families should provide breakfast should be congratulated. It was a most encouraging way to bring everyone together before worship. The dads were very organised and provided a wonderful spread!!

The service in church was most inspiring and Tasha was excellent in the way she handled the theme of Mothering Sunday together with the film, matching up Jochebed, Mose’s mother, Miriam, Mose’s sister and Pharaoh’s daughter with our own experiences. Tasha emphasised the idea of mothering as the real meaning of Mothering Sunday which allowed everyone to feel included. Jochebed’s innate feeling of mothering made her determined to save her child from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all the Hebrew baby boys; her daughter Miriam showed her characteristic of mothering by following Moses as he floated in his basket on the River Nile; Pharaoh’s daughter displayed a spirit of mothering by retrieving Moses from the river and bringing him up as her child even though she knew he was a Hebrew child.

It was especially lovely to see so many children and their parents. Julia is doing a great job in trying to encourage the young people to our church and to make it relevant for them. It is the duty of all of us to display a spirit of loving care and mothering towards the next generation of church goers.

Barbara Griffiths


People Matter from May copy of The Magazine

William John (Will) Appleton

William was born to Kathleen and Sidney Appleton on 5th July in Bishopstoke. “a big, handsome boy, always hungry” according to his mother. His childhood spent in Itchen Stoke, as recounted by his elder sister Eunice seems to have been idyllic.

William and Eunice played with the neighbouring children, making dens and running through the cornfields and jumping over the electric fences. This was much to the annoyance of the farmer who already knew William  having discovered him on his newly painted tricycle,  with a trilby hat on and ‘smoking’ a pretend pipe watching the tractors.

As they grew older they stayed out all day, riding bikes or paddling in the river. His summer birthday parties were a village affair, often on Abbotstone Downs, with picnics, running races and cricket. 

Eunice remembers him as an adorable little boy quietly determined and kind who grew to be her trusted, respected friend.

At 5 years William travelled to Alresford to The Dean School on the public bus with the children from the villages. Within a few years the family moved to live in Alresford above the Butcher’s shop in Broad Street. William didn’t mind school but was known to wander home, whether he was bored or hungry no one knew. His favourite time was sports day when he won and had sugary doughnuts and Tizer.

At The Dean Will made lifelong friends, boys that he went to Perins with, played football and worked with later. He did well at Perins going on to a four year apprenticeship in central heating engineering. 

Family holidays were spent at the seaside, Somerset and Devon in caravans then later The Isles of Scilly, or day-trips, in the back of the butchers van sitting on cushions. William and his dad fished off the beach at Hillhead, or from a small fishing boat at Mudeford.

Growing up at the shop in Alresford the children had chores to earn their pocket money. William wore a huge white butchers coat and went out in the vans on deliveries with the men. He loved cars and later owned a Triumph Stag and TR6. William was football mad and followed Saints. He also enjoyed horse racing and went to Goodwood once a year.

Will met Karen in a pub in Cheriton in 1973. They were married in 1975 and lived in New Farm Road and in Winchester. They had two children, Matt and Jodie. When Jodie was 11 weeks old they moved to Searle’s Close in Alresford. Will worked first as a labourer and bricklayer for Maurice Pond in Alresford, a self-build and work for other firms followed.

Eventually, W. Appleton Builders was formed and has been an established business for over 30 years. Most work came through recommendations; he had a wide circle of customers and friends.

Those who knew Will would say he was a kind man, a hard worker and helpful, “The best Boss out”. It was important to him to look after those who worked for him. His work was his life and he loved it

He was an easy-going and excellent father and grandfather to four grandchildren.

He will certainly be much missed in Alresford.

Bill Starr

Bill was born in 1932 in Fishponds, Bristol to Welsh parents. He moved with his parents and his older sister Vera to Hillingdon Middlesex due to his father finding work at Hoovers, Perivale. He was called up for National Service in 1950 where he served in the RAF. He had to stay an extra 6 months due to the Korean war. When he was demobbed he went to work as a mechanic at Hoovers garage, Perivale. In 1953 Bill met Margaret at dancing classes and they were married in 1955, and started married life living in Uxbridge, Middx. In 1962 they had their first daughter Alison followed by another daughter Susan in 1965.

In 1963 Bill started work at National Insurance Guarantee (Skandia) as a Car Insurance Assessor and when they opened new offices in Hampshire in 1967 the family moved to Elm Road, Alresford where he lived with Margaret for over 50 years.

On his retirement he remained very active, joining Alresford Bowling club, and well in to his 80’s he visited the Isle of Wight once a week where he would meet up with old colleagues and enjoy a game of bowls or golf.

Bill was a lifelong gardener earning many prizes for his vegetables at shows in Middlesex. He especially enjoyed growing tomatoes and actively enjoyed gardening all his life. He had already planted tomatoes for this year which are growing in the greenhouse. He loved garden wildlife, feeding the birds every morning and his visiting hedgehogs every evening, and enjoyed pottering in both his greenhouse and around the garden, always taking enjoyment in the flowers around him and listening to the bird songs. He was a man who was creative with his hands and enjoyed practical work around the house including painting and decorating. Margaret never needed to employ a handyman.

Above all Bill was a family man who was proud of his daughters and grandchildren Charlotte, William and David, and great grandchildren Oliver and Archie. He enjoyed family get togethers especially when the whole family came together for a visit.