Arle Valley Voice 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 – February 2020

Hello and welcome,

The occasion of my one year anniversary of being Editor of this magazine seems to me a good time to reflect.  I would like to thank my fellow volunteers who have helped me so much every month in publishing The Arle Valley Voice.

Together, we have changed our name, appearance and altered the content and format to make this publication more user friendly.  We have added a colour cover and incorporated new advertising schemes.

There are more improvements to come and we welcome any assistance or content you may have to offer.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. We have an expanded two page ‘People Matter’ feature with a roundup of recent charitable giving, wacky Camel racing (!), the Confirmation Class of 2019 and a tribute to Angela Peel, who is retiring from her work as an Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) for the Benefice.


Penny Forbes (Editor)



Leader – Take A Moment

So we are one month into a new decade! I wonder how you’re getting on with those resolutions you made?

Everywhere we look at the moment; in magazines and newspapers and online and in lots of new Apps, it is of course, as it is every January, all about getting fit. I am heartened to notice however that the latest thing it seems is that we are all being told that we should and we are all being taught how to …….pause, ……breathe, ….take a moment, …….be still and I’ve read several times about the benefits of letting our children or ourselves be bored! (Chance would be a fine thing !)

This is a good thing. 

Everyone is beginning to realise that we don’t just need to look after ourselves better physically, by doing that exercise or eating more healthily,( note I didn’t claim I do it ..but I realise I need to so that is a start- right??!) but also that  we need to care for our mind and spirits more. In particular the health gurus are stating the importance of meditation, silence and stillness as an antidote to the busy and stressful lives we lead as well as to feelings of anxiety or depression or other mental health issues that can be so debilitating.

Well the Church is ahead of the game! 

Silence and stillness have been a part of the Christian tradition for centuries, particularly within monastic communities and way back to the Desert Fathers. The wonderful thing is that is cheap and portable! You can do it anywhere! It just needs you and your breath….


“In any activity that requires concentrated effort, the breath quite naturally plays a role. If you have ever tried to thread a needle or repair a watch, you might have observed that without even thinking about it the breath quiets and deepens. Singers, swimmers, people who struggle with panic attacks, and a host of others learn the importance of proper breathing in order to negotiate the respective tasks at hand. Thus, that the art of contemplative practice can be facilitated by the breath should come as no surprise.”

~ from INTO THE SILENT LAND by Martin Laird


To become still enough and relaxed  enough and simply focus on your own breathing is such a peaceful, wholesome, refreshing thing to do for your body, mind and spirit- they are connected of course and affect each other. Sometimes it is too noisy to concentrate on your breath and  using a repeated phrase, rehearsed slower and slower in your mind can bring you to a better place.

Look out for Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, 26th February. We have times of silence in church but it is a good opportunity to take the period up until Easter day to simply TAKE A MOMENT everyday for 40 days (plus Sundays).


News From the Bell Tower


On Saturday afternoon 4th January twelve members of the St John’s team of bell ringers enjoyed a new year tour, ringing at three churches about half an hour South of Alresford. Our first stop was to ring the six bells at Warnford, where the Saxon church is located in a park, a little way out of the village. Our next stop was at Upham, where five of the eight bells were cast in 1761 by Thomas Swaine, an itinerant bell-founder who set up a foundry in a field near Alresford.


Our final stop was at Bishopstoke where the ten bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry, London in 1995. Although the Whitechapel Bellfoundry had been trading in under various names since 1570, it closed about three years ago, leaving only one major bellfounder in the UK, Taylor’s of Loughborough.


Our own ring of eight bells were cast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel in 1811 and were restored by Taylors in 1936. Pack and Chapman, a previous trading name of the Whitechapel Foundry also cast the Old Alresford bells in 1769.


The St John’s team keeps up a long tradition of bell ringing in the English style, which has been practised in Alresford since 1769, and our team of ringers enjoyed honing their skills on some different bells. The ring of ten bells at Bishopstoke in particular giving some of our younger and less experienced ringers the opportunity of ringing on a ring of ten bells, more accuracy being required the greater the number of ringers that need to ring in time with each other.

Roger Booth


Angela Peel, LLM

Angela Peel is retiring from being a Licensed Lay
Minister (LLM) and is becoming a LLM Emeritus. We are
so grateful for Angela’s wonderful ministry in the Arle
Valley Benefice over the last 11 years.
Her gift of preaching coupled with her experience as a
Practice Nurse at Alresford Surgery has forged long
lasting relationships in the community. Mourners have
specifically asked for Angela to officiate family funerals
and offer comfort during the difficult time of bereavement.
Angela also masterminded St. John’s Messy Church for 6 years, which greatly helped our
engagement with young families.
Angela, we will miss you and might try to persuade you out of retirement to take a service or two!




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.