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 April edition of The magazine

Dear Readers,

I would like to thank everyone who submitted new name suggestions for The Magazine. We had a tremendous response and I can reveal to you all that the new name for the upcoming Benefice magazine is… located in Julia’s Leader’s Letter on Page 3! The hope is to have the new name, along with a new look magazine, up and running in the next few months.

Please have a good look through this month’s magazine for the details of the varied services and activities taking place during the Lent and Easter seasons at our churches and further afield.

This month there are many interesting articles from start to finish in the magazine. Don’t miss Page 11 which has two informative articles that readers would find enjoyable. The first article is about a podcast entitled ‘Fun with bells’ that was started by a local Alresford woman. The second is about the Commonwealth War Graves that are located in the St. John’s Churchyard extension.

In the ‘People Matter’ pages, there are two inspiring and moving obituaries for local Alresford residents, Fabia Wrigley and Stella Britten.

There are opportunities for all to get involved in the recycling efforts of Workaid and an information piece on how to volunteer as a ‘Befriender’ in the Alresford area.

With best wishes for Lent and Easter,


Penny Forbes (Editor)



Leader from April edition of The Magazine

The Importance of Staying Connected…..

and I don’t mean to the internet!

I learned some shocking statistics about loneliness recently and I would not have imagined the impact it could have on health. The website says that loneliness and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is worse for you than obesity or lack of physical exercise and has a big effect on your life expectancy. One study shows that over 9million people in the UK (that’s more than the population of London), across all adult ages, are either always or often lonely. An Action for Children survey showed that 43%of their clients aged 17-25years experienced problems with loneliness and that 24% of parents they surveyed were always or often lonely.

Now I haven’t told you all that to depress you…. especially if you are one of those who experience feelings of loneliness. I say it because the issue of loneliness is something very close to my heart and also something that motivates many of our church activities, and it is one of the reasons this magazine exists too!

You will see on page 2 that in the John Pearson Hall on the second Tuesday of every month at 10.00a.m. there is a friendly group of folk that pop into ‘Coffee, Cake & Chat’ who have a cuppa and some really good homemade cakes! On the third Sunday of every month at 2.30pm there is a special Afternoon Tea for those who live alone called ‘Solos Sunday Tea’. On every third Friday ‘Table Talk’ meets for a light lunch and topical chat from 12-2pm but in Lent they meet every Friday! Look out too for the great new Alresford Community Cinema, run by The Friends of St Johns, and in Bighton Village Hall there are Moviola film nights every month.

The four churches of St John the Baptist in New Alresford, St Mary the Virgin in Old Alresford, All

Saints in Bighton and St Peter in Ovington are in the four parishes that make up the Arle Valley

Benefice. Each of those church communities are there for the people who live in their parishes

and they continue to play a key part in building community and hence reducing loneliness. At the Magazine….SOON TO BECOME THE ARLE VALLEY VOICE… we want to hear from the people in those parishes what your community might benefit from that might help to prevent loneliness and isolation. Perhaps the church building or church folks can help, so do let us know.

Lastly, in order to really help the Magazine to reflect our four parishes, we need 3 Village Correspondents! One each for Ovington, Bighton and Old Alresford. If you are someone who knows what is going on in your village and can write a few words to advertise an event or a group, we would love to help connect more people to it by putting it in The Magazine. You may be someone who is good at taking photos and could supply us with pics of an event, place or item which is significant to your parish. By doing this you can improve the health of your village AND help us connect up the Arle

Valley Benefice!


Penny Forbes (Editor)



People Matter from April edition of The Magazine



People Matter from March edition of The Magazine


Fabia Wrigley

Fabia de Riemer Davis was born in Great Malvern in August 1944. Fabia’s mother was successful children’s author Barbara Sleigh, and her father was well-known storytelling voice and pianist on BBC Children’s Hour, David Davis. Following the war the family moved to Ealing in West London. Whilst at school Fabia received music tuition at the Royal College of Music as a junior in piano and bassoon. She was on course to study languages at university but for some reason chose not to, a decision that she later regretted. Instead she went to secretarial college, which landed her some interesting jobs. She worked for some time at Coutt’s in London, then as a secretary to a senior editor at the Doubleday publishing house in New York, which opened the door for her to spend an exciting couple of years working and then travelling in the US.

Once back in London she soon established herself again and before long met a handsome chap called Peter Wrigley. They married in March 1969 and in 1970 found the ideal place to live in South Road in Alresford.

During this period she qualified and started working as a social worker in Winchester. When Simon was born in 1978, Fabia gave up full time work and threw herself into bringing him up and developing the home and family life. Several years later she worked as an advisor at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Winchester, a job which she relished until her illness prevented her from continuing.

Perhaps not surprisingly given her parents’ talents, Fabia was steeped in culture. She loved reading and art, and frequently organised family visits to galleries and theatre performances. Later in her life she enjoyed attending art classes, where she tried her hand at watercolours and clay sculpting.

But her keenest interest was music. Music was never far from her, whether listening to favourite pieces at home or in the car, singing with the Southampton Choral Society, or studying for an Open University degree in Music. In her last active years she fought to revive her piano skills through lessons with Ian Waring-Green.

Throughout her life she was drawn to helping others in need. Besides her work at Social Services and the Citizens Advice Bureau, she volunteered with extra reading tuition at Sun Hill school and community transport for older people in Alresford, and was a founder member of the Giles Group for the disabled and their carers in Alresford. She was also endlessly supportive, caring and patient with her husband Peter and son Simon and their own health difficulties.

Home life was a great source of satisfaction for her. She enjoyed practical work around the house, from painting and decorating to sewing clothes, curtains, cushions and toys. Her cooking was also well loved by all, including the many friends who came to the house for dinner parties. She also loved the garden and got as much satisfaction from pottering around and tending plants as from relaxing in the sun to the sound of the birds singing.

Simon reflects that she relished spending time at home with the family, and his overriding sense from growing up was of a very stable, happy and contented environment built on the firm foundations of her character and her very happy marriage to Peter, with whom the connection she shared was wonderfully clear for all to see.

The picture of Fabia which emerges from those who knew her well is of a person who was calm, balanced, down to earth and contented in herself, but who also had a very positive outlook on other people and on life. She smiled a lot, rarely raised her voice and didn’t take anything too seriously with her sometimes mischievous sense of humour. Even towards the end of her life her sense of the funny side of things never really disappeared, with her eyes often lighting up with a spark of cheeky amusement in response to something she was being told or at the absurdity of some aspect of her own awful situation.

Her bravery and determination in facing the multiple sclerosis that she must always have known would become impossibly tough were nothing short of extraordinary. She never complained, and never outwardly showed signs of feeling sorry for herself, even though the frustration must have been unbearable. Rather, she always seemed determined to get the very most out of life by doing as much as she could, while she still could.

As her condition deteriorated, she was fearless in pushing her own boundaries in order to stay as active as possible. Later, when she was often seen whizzing around Alresford on her electric scooter with her faithful companion Ben the dog, her bids for freedom sometimes seemed to go a little too far, such as when (to her own great amusement afterwards) after somehow careering off the footpath, she had to be fished right out of the river by aghast passers-by!

Such incidents illustrate the positivity and determination not to give in that made her attitude to her affliction so admirable and showed what an incredibly strong and positive person she was. At the same time there is no doubt that she drew so much of her strength from her remarkable relationship with Peter, whose love for her and dedication to caring for her never failed.

Based on the eulogy given by her son Simon at Fabia’s funeral.

A history of the Giles Group can be found at

Stella Winifred Britten

Stella Winifred Scratchley was born on 28th July 1927 in Wiltshire, she had a sister and two brothers. Whilst on leave as a young sailor Maurice Britten found himself looking over a gate at a beautiful young lady working in a flax field. Having found the courage to say hello they met up for a while. When Maurice got back on board his ship he asked his captain if he could have permission to get married. The captain replied with “wouldn’t you be better off with a motor bike” luckily for the family Maurice chose Stella!

They married on 12th January 1946 and had four children Gary, Jak, Paula and Karen. They also went on to foster children as well. They moved to Cheriton in 1959 & then eventually moved to Alresford where they bought a house down The Dean. Stella and Maurice were members of Alresford Royal Naval Club. Maurice died in 2005, they were married for 60 years.

When Stella’s health deteriorated she moved to Old Alresford Cottage care home. Stella was a very popular resident and when members of staff needed cheering up they would play a visit to Stella in her room for a chat. The family were very grateful to all the staff for their love, care and dedication not only to Stella but also to them as a family. Stella lived for another 14 years after Maurice died to reach the age of 91 years. She truly was amazing with a cracking sense of humour & that twinkle in her eyes right up to the end. The family will miss her immensely, but her witty comments and the memories they have all shared with her individually or together as a family will never leave them.

Churches Together in Alresford

Away Weekend 8th – 10th March 2019


Once again the Churches Together in Alresford weekend away was at the Best Western Hotel in Bournemouth. 65 people arrived on Friday night ready for a weekend filled with fellowship, teaching and (despite it being Lent) a significant amount of food!

This year’s theme was ‘Renewal’ which follows on from the covenant re-dedication service in January. After we had been well-fed on Friday night Father Mark led the first session based on the Ash Wednesday Gospel (Matthew 6) suggesting that Lent should not be a period of ostentatious “giving up” but rather a joyful opportunity for thought and preparation for our renewal at Easter – try limiting time gazing at screens and electronic gadgets and try driving without the background of the car radio!

Saturday morning started with morning prayers followed by a session led by Julia and Tasha. They explored the theme of renewal using the analogy of the caterpillar as it ‘renews’ itself into a butterfly. During this process the chrysalis attaches itself to the leaf by a silk thread. In the same way we need to anchor ourselves in our faith in Christ during times of change or trouble. We also ‘recycled’ some rubbish into something useful and the session finished with a number of prayer stations which the group could visit and spend time at.

After coffee we had a talk from Jo-Anne Graham of Winchester Youth Counselling about their work and how they are using the money CTiA is raising for them. This was followed by a talk from Christians Against Poverty which finished with the commissioning of Clare Pinniger and Suzanne Hodnett as they continue to develop their work for CAP in the Alresford area.

Saturday afternoon was free time to enjoy the beach, the shops or the pool. The last session on Saturday was led by Sam Barnes, the Methodist youth worker. This was an all age session where we were challenged to think about how we would ‘renew’ the church (money being no object) and explored the book of Nehemiah.

Sunday morning was spent planning for worship followed by our closing worship session.

Sadly this is the last year that Sam Barnes is able to join us. He has been an integral part of the last five CTiA weekends and the young people who have attended, every year for most, have benefited greatly from his leadership. In his farewell speech he spoke about how much the young people have grown both in height and in their faith over the last 5 years. We will miss Sam at future events.

After Sunday lunch we departed for home having renewed friendships, fellowships and faith as the Churches Together in Alresford.

Sarah Wilding

** Don’t forget to be at Alresford Methodist Church at 11.00 a.m.

for the Good Friday Walk of Witness!**

From: The Diocese of Winchester:

To: The PCC and Congregation of The Parish of New Alresford

I am writing to express our grateful thanks for meeting your common mission fund request for 2018 in full, enabling the funding of mission and ministry right

Amongst many things this generosity helps sustain parish clergy across the diocese and trains new clergy.

Your generosity also sustains parish ministry; measured by every ill person visited, every confirmation course run, every assembly taken, every bereaved family comforted, every baptism celebrated, every sermon preached, Holy Communion celebrated, and person shown the love of Christ through our care, comfort and compassion. And lots more.

This ministry not only supplies

the needs of the saints but

overflows with many

thanksgivings to God

2 Cor 9:12

Once again thank you for your generosity and for your continued commitment and encouragement, all of which is greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,


Colin Harbidge

Head of Operations


across the Diocese of Winchester.

As a result of your generosity and the generosity of others so much has been achieved at both a local and wider level.

People Matter (From February Edition of The Magazine)

Graham Barnard Curtis

Graham Barnard Curtis was born on 5th September 1950 a “ten pound bouncing baby boy” to Sheila and Barney Curtis. They were living in the wartime agricultural huts at Tichborne Park. He had an elder sister, Linda. Sheila suffered with tuberculosis and was in a sanatorium for much of his young life during which time he was looked after by his Grandma Edith in Ladycroft. They moved to Jesty Road in the 1950s when the houses were built. Graham went to the Dean School, and then on to what is now Perins where he was Head Boy. He loved the stage and played many parts including Toad of Toad Hall in school productions.

As a boy Graham spent a lot of time at Tichborne Park cricket club where his father was team captain. During the 1960s, charity matches were played at Tichborne Park. These matches were televised, “John Arlott commentating an all, playing were a good smattering of England players West Indies players and film stars with a few Tichborne players, ‘cos my old man was playing I was in and out of the pavilion as far as I was concerned these were dad’s mates Compton, Cowdrey, Godfrey Evans and ‘[Typhoon] Tyson’.

At school he was good at maths and loved and was talented in graphic design and drawing. On leaving school he was offered a job as a trainee architect but having seen the drawing office, “it seemed the size of a footy pitch full of people and strip lights” he decided that as an outdoor boy it wasn’t for him. He became a mechanic, a job he loved. A man of fun, he often sent an apprentice for a ‘left-handed screwdriver or ‘a long weight’!

In the late 1970s he joined the family business – the business started by his grandfather -‘A Curtis and sons’ as a coalman. Graham didn’t do sick days and once delivered coal with a broken leg. With his sister Linda he took on another family business in the Farm shop and so he continued coal deliveries until his death.

He married Linda Kingshot, they had three children, Catherine, Michael and Jennifer. A happy and lively family they enjoyed many family holidays at Warner holiday camps. Tragically, Michael was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1991. The death of his son ‘took a piece’ of Graham – as it did the whole family. It was as this point Graham really threw himself into his St John Ambulance work. Graham and Linda became foster parents when their children were young, eventually caring for 72 young people. “Is fostering other people’s children fun? It can be great fun if you like kids! Is fostering a challenge? It certainly can be! Do you have to be mad to foster? Probably.” Graham and Linda later divorced. On his own he continued to foster teenage boys, 79 in total; “Mainly the ones that are more challenging and I find it most rewarding. I like to think I’ve helped these young men through to adulthood”.

Graham could speak Russian and Latin from schooldays. He also loved to go to see the great classical ballets and went a few times to see the Bolshoi ballet in Russia. He will not be forgotten as Father Christmas for 345 playgroup and at Makins Court . Graham left six grandchildren. Graham was described as “love in action”, generous and selfless-always giving (many times a car). He was humble, never wanting recognition.

The parable of the Good Samaritan was chosen to be read at Graham’s funeral. Jesus told this story to teach the importance and the meaning of ‘loving our neighbour as ourselves’. More specifically, to answer the question – ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Graham was certainly not one to pass by on the other side of the street but was a true neighbour to those in need.

Those passages in quotes are Graham’s own words taken from a book he had started writing which he subtitled

A book about one man’s varied and wonderful life” – it certainly was.

The Eulogy given at St John’s Church at Graham’s funeral by his daughter Jennie

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to call my dad, my dad.

My dad was loud; he was the life and soul of the party and was always the first on the dance floor especially when the birdie song came on. Many have commented that they will miss his whistle but at home he would also sing, when a family holiday was approaching we would be treated to renditions of “we’re all going on a summer holiday” and at Christmas it would be Christmas songs.

The Eulogy given at St John’s Church at Graham’s funeral by his daughter Jennie (cont’d)

Dad could mend anything. If it broke, he would have a screw, or a bolt or a piece of string that could make it work again. My childhood bikes were hybrids, a handlebar from here, and a frame from there, all connected together ready for a slightly squeaky and wonky but still roadworthy of sorts ride. My dad was strong; Bike rides at the weekend, if I couldn’t make it up Sun Hill, which I never could and still can’t, Dad would cycle whilst holding my handlebars and pulling me up as well.

My dad was kind; Dad was always there if I needed something, whether that be a flat tyre, a broken piece of furniture or some other household thing that I had broken trying to mend it myself, Dad would turn up in one of his cars with a set of tools he thought may do the job, or he would appear with the coal truck and a new something made from wood from the garage to replace what I had broken.

Some may joke that said child must be the milkman’s. I will always be proud to say that I am most definitely the coalman’s daughter.

Graham and St John Ambulance

Graham’s involvement with St Johns started in the late ‘80s when Jennie, still at primary school, dragged him to an AGM. They wanted volunteers to develop an individual Alresford division. There weren’t many takers so he was volunteered by proxy. Over the years he led Alresford division and built it up from a cadet division to having a junior cadet (later badgers) and an adult group (with help from others). He converted caravans in the early days as first aid posts and then eventually Alresford had ambulances as well. One eventually became the Michael Curtis Memorial ambulance. Some of the cadets that he taught have become nurses and doctors and accredit their early interest to dad.

He also provided first aid to lots of local events at the Watercress Line, Fireworks, the yearly Broad Street Fair, fetes and horse show events as well as Alresford Show. During the summer months, he was on duty most weekends. He loved the quad bike duties and in particular the concerts at Broadlands Estate. At Alresford Surgery, he ran a class for new mothers covering resuscitation, choking children and dealing with common childhood injuries. Eventually, new policies meant that huge risk assessments had to be completed and the training first aiders needed was bordering on paramedic status. Graham just wanted to provide basic immediate care and offer a service to the local community so he decided it was time to step away.

Speaking now as a 28 year old senior nurse in children’s intensive care, I can honestly say that Graham had a much larger impact on me than perhaps I realised. From the day that he wrapped me up under his massive black coat at a Remembrance Service at St John’s when it started to pour with rain (as a six year old) to the day that I told him I got into University to become a nurse, he was always a mentor and a guiding hand.” Sam Archer

Graham’s Work as a Foster Carer – Excerpt taken from the letter of condolence

sent to Jennifer from Hampshire Children’s Services

I am sure you must be very proud of what your father achieved and know just how valued he was by those from Hampshire County Council who worked with him. Your father was highly respected within the fostering community, providing foster services in Hampshire for over 30 years. During this time he provided a home and support for over 100 young people. He worked tirelessly with the children’s social work teams to provide stability and consistency to those children who were harder to engage. It was this area of work that your father was particularly skilled at and work that gave him the greatest satisfaction.

He was truly a ‘one off’ and had a unique style and approach to fostering which worked well with the young people that he cared for. He always had a ‘can do’ approach and would enjoy a challenge. Your father was not a person that would say ‘no’ to a placement; it would be ‘well let’s give it a go and see what happens’. While many carers would have considered ending a placement when faced with some of the challenges he encountered, for him it was just another day at the office! He took everything in his stride – there was nothing a young person said or did which shocked him. He was on first name terms with almost all the police officers in the Alresford/Winchester area! He took on a young person who due to his history struggled to find work experience and by the end of the week not only gave him a reference but also paid him, which the lad has never forgotten.

Over the years he worked with a range of professionals and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him. Your father was a big support to other foster carers.

Steve Croker OBE, Director of Children’s Services