Archive for the ‘Charities’ Category

The Alresford Men’s Shed is open!

The Alresford Men’s Shed physically opened its doors at Unit 1, The Dean, to accept Membership registration forms on Tuesday 23 January, 6 weeks ago. Lots of people came to have a look round, and 17 Membership forms were completed on the day! All were impressed by the transformation of the bare factory rooms into a workshop equipped with work benches, large work and rest areas, and storage rooms. The array of tools available in the workshop is impressive, clipped onto wall boards: most are new, purchased by the Shed using their start-up funding, but since the opening there have been several donations of larger items, such as a chop saw, bench vices, a pillar drill, several electric saws, vacuum extractors etc. We now have a BIG sign outside, for the short-sighted, and anyone else that wants to find us, opposite Valdean Caravan Park.


Two days later, Peter Tudor, a Shed Trustee, completed the first ‘Community’ project in the Shed, by repairing the seat cushions of six chairs from St John’s Church. This was a straightforward task of replacing the hardboard underneath the foam of the seat cushion with a slightly stronger sheet of plywood. Peter says that there are several more chairs that need this sort of attention in the Alresford Church, so more seats will follow! The picture shows Peter with the first six seat cushions, plus also some of the tools positioned behind the workbenches.

P1010174 Peter Tudor.JPG

The Alresford Men’s Shed is delighted to accept donations of tools that are surplus to requirements from anyone. Membership is open to all, so please come along to meet the people and see the facilities available. More important, you will be able to visualise what you might be able to do in the Shed, and see some projects on-going. Volunteers are repairing restaurant tables, drawer handles, chair backs, and even making shelves for storage areas. If you have some repair jobs, or something you want building, why not drop in and see what we can do for you? Maybe we could help you to up-cycle some old furniture, for sale to the ‘trendy people’ of Alresford…..

DSCN6820 small

Opening hours:

Monday and Thursday morning

Tuesday and Thursday afternoon


From 1896 Methodist Chapel to 2017 Event Space!


In Autumn 2017, the old Methodist Chapel, in the Dean in Alresford, was re-opened as “White Space Alresford”, an event space for hire in the middle of Alresford. The building has been totally renovated, and now features a single storey 850 square feet of space, with a 6.6m high vaulted ceiling. The space is truly described as a white space, with white walls and arched ceiling, and white light from windows in the roof, as well as the original long thin windows in the East wall facing the street. ‘White space’ is offered for hire as an ideal venue for ceremonies, pop-ups, photoshoots, workshops (for training or product launches) and wellness days. For a conference the room be fitted out with chairs, and tables if needed, to accommodate 26 delegates.

25011225_880578675400522_5890511482839367680_n   yoga4-379x592

During the 2016 renovation work at the building, the workmen found a time capsule placed there in 1996, when the last renovation took place. This time capsule incorporated the contents of another, earlier time capsule, installed when the building was originally constructed, which by coincidence was dated March 1896, almost exactly 100 years previously. Holly Budge of White Space Alresford has generously decided that the documents in the capsule should be passed to the Alresford Museum, so that they can be preserved and recorded as an important part of the town’s history.

The Methodist Chapel, 1896

The ‘Primitive Methodist Chapel’, in the Dean, Alresford, was built in 1896. Many current Alresford residents, passing by the front of the building, which is directly against the pavement, will have seen the original 10 foundation stones at the base of the front wall. These were laid by the local notables and officials on Wednesday 11 March in 1896. The Mayor of Winchester, A.R. Dyer, laid the first stone. Other local people who paid for bricks, have their initials engraved in the side of a brick here too, as can be seen on the photographs.

aya 88 old stones

The builder given the work of erecting the Chapel was H. Mundy, builder and contractor, house decorator and undertaker, of Essex Road, Basingstoke. On some of his headed paper, dated 12 March 1896, four of his builders signed their names and added this to the time capsule they created. Their signatures were interpreted as Fred Mundy, John Willis and Bill Gunner in 1996: a fourth name was not deciphered, but could be “Harvey Bundon”: Victorian writing is hard to read at times, as you can see. The total cost of the original building was £200.

Builders signatures 1896

The newspapers originally interred in a cavity in the wall next to one of the doorways in the Chapel were the Hampshire Chronicle, the Hampshire Observer, published by Warren and Sons, and the “Primitive Methodist World and Sunday School Worker”: all these newspapers cost one (old) penny each. Regrettably the Hampshire Chronicle had been severely attacked by insects.

The copy of the Hampshire Observer tells us that following Mr Dyer, S. Tanner Esq of Avington also laid a stone, followed by other ladies and gentlemen. One was laid by Miss I. Smith on behalf of the orphanage children, in Old Alresford. After these ceremonies there was a public tea in the Town Hall at 5pm (tickets were one shilling each)

The build-up to 1996

By 1964 the building was no longer suitable for worship, and it was sold for £3000 to enable the purchase of further premises in Pound Hill. However, some people attending the 1996 ceremony remembered worshipping there. Alice Alsford, long connected with the NCH in Old Alresford, remembered attending services there, with children from the home. Bobbie Sanderson and her late husband John were actually married in the Chapel.

aya april 89

The Chapel before the AYA renovation, in 1989

The building was possibly not used immediately, and by 1993 was in a derelict state. It was recognised as a possible site for creating a permanent place for the activities of the Alresford Youth Association, which had been established as a registered charity and legal framework to run the activities of “Tonix”, a meeting room and non-alcoholic bar for teenagers aged 14-18. Tonix had started in East Street in October 1992, in a room rented short term, on the first floor of ‘The Peaceful Home’ pub. This was a successful activity, but when the management committee decided to fund-raise from the public to seek permanent premises, it was necessary to establish the AYA as a registered charity. The AYA was formed with support from the County Youth Service, and many other local organisations including the local Churches, the Chamber of Trade, the Parish Council, Rotary and the Police.

aya roof restoration 1995

Renovation, November 95

Tonix was homeless, after vacating rented premises, and after the plan to park a vintage bus acquired for the club on Arlebury Park had been scuppered by the town council – when a planning permission request for electricity and water connections was rejected. So when the Chapel was offered for sale in 1994, further local fund raising efforts in the community, as well as grants from official bodies, enabled the purchase of the building in October 1995, and work to commence on the renovation of the building. Fixed assets reported by the AYA (valued at cost) at the end of 1995 were totalled at £42,300, of which the major part would have been the purchase price of the Methodist Chapel in October 1995.

The 1996 ceremony and their capsule

In 1996 the Alresford Youth Association invited Pat Norris, the Mayor of Winchester, to unveil a new Foundation stone to be built into the wall of the old Methodist Chapel in the Dean, to go alongside the other stones placed there 100 years before.  The photo shows the Mayor accompanied by Sir Peter Ramsbotham (the AYA President), laying the stone.

stone laying 19960003    aya 98 foundstone

Diana Woolridge, chairman of the AYA, later explained the history of the building to the visitors and guests, assembled on the first floor of the Chapel building. The audience included parish and city councillors, members of the local churches, chamber of trade, Rotary and Alresford Pigs, all of whom joined with the community in raising the funds needed to finance the renovations. Grants also came from the County Council. This large space, she explained, would be a large meeting room and event space, while downstairs a lounge, kitchen and office was planned. Tim Churchill explained that the two levels would work separately, with one group downstairs and another upstairs. The original concept of the Tonix coffee bar meeting room would be re-opened downstairs later in the Spring.

The building façade had been preserved and the windows with the original Cathedral tinted glass have been retained – looking much as they did 100 years before. The total purchase and restoration was budgeted to cost a total of £90,000: the building work still in progress at that time was being undertaken by Chamberlain Construction, of Laurel House in Alresford, working to a £45,000 budget. Part of their work was planned to involve the re-interment of the old time capsule, with added information from 1996, including several current local newspapers reporting on the stone laying ceremony, and some National newspapers. Additionally included were the AYA Annual reports to the Charity Commissioners for 1994 and 1995, plus a statement from Chamberlain Construction listing the unit costs of the materials and consumables used in the restoration.

[The above information was distilled down from the documents in the time capsule, such as reports in the Hampshire Chronicle of 15 March 1996, and also the Alton Herald of 22 March 1996, and the annual reports of the AYA charity for 1994 and 1995.

A subsequent story will quote some of the events reported in the 1996 local papers found in the time capsule]




Community Volunteers – can you help?

For those recently retired, or anyone wishing to volunteer to help the less able-bodied in Alresford, the Giles Group of Alresford is seeking help for one or two days a month, assisting people at their meetings or on their Minibus outings. The group ( organises a monthly talk in the Community Centre, and a monthly outing in the town Minibus, for old, infirm or otherwise disabled/lonely people in the town.

The current organisers are also getting old, and need some help in shepherding the visitors onto the Minibus, handing out teas, organising tables and chairs, fastening seat belts etc. The meetings are held on the second Monday in the month, in the afternoon, and the Minibus trips, to a garden centre, or a market, or a café on the coast (in the good weather) are on the third Monday in the month, again in the afternoon.

The Giles Group has around 35 members, with maybe 30 attending the meetings regularly, and 13 is the minibus capacity for the outings. Volunteer drivers are already available driving the bus, both to collect people for the meeting in the Community Centre, and on the outings.

If you would be able to help, please come along and see what we do, what help is needed, and how such events can be so useful for the Community. Or call Nick on 734824, with any questions!  Thankyou

Pigs Duck Race photos

The 2017 Alresford Pigs Duck Race was held last Sunday thanks to the generosity of George and Janette Hollingbery and family, at the Weir House in Old Alresford. It was a scorching day, so as ever the Pigs worked hard to gather lots of Gazebos to provide as much shelter as possible on the lawn by the river.

The whole event was basically a great big party, with entertainment from the Alresford Ukulele Band, the Duck Racing, Tombola and Scalextrics car racing stands, plus a Bouncy Castle for the kids. And a bar for the Dads, because it was Father’s Day after all.

It was a lot of work, but a good way to thank the Community for their support to the Pigs Charity over the last two years. You can see the Pigs at work in the photos below, but this was of course before the bar opened……



Being Father’s Day, the kids were still working….


But the lawn looked pretty full up with Gazebos for shelter


and chairs everywhere.


The Ukulele Band started up, with help….


Although the Dads were going strong


And the audience liked it


Some people did the 10k run, and then had a beer, , which was maybe a bit too much on a hot day…..


The rest enjoyed themselves, and the band, and the ice cream.


Placing a bet for the first time is a big thing, so you need help from an older sister, or friend.


But you have to make your own decision.


That decision is a bit more difficult the older you get….


But it doesn’t look like the bookies know much about it all


Well, the Ducks have set off, in a crowd.


Most seem to be wanting to go backwards…


But one has been seen going forwards, backwards.


There they go.


Even if you don’t care about the races, it is still a good day…..

If you know someone who might qualify for help from the local community funds donated to the Alresford Pigs, please contact us and tell us about them. We support those in the Community who need help, that the community would wish to support. We have been operating for over 40 years, and raise over £10,000 a year, which is all used to help the community.


Muck For Sale!

Once again Alresford Young Farmers are delivering well rotted muck from a local beef farm, high in potassium and phosphates, that are crucial for growing healthy plants.

Muck will be delivered in a large tractor on Sunday 19 February, between 0900 and 1400.

Price is £3/bag, £5/barrow load, all delivered to your door in and around Alresford. Larger quantities can be made available….

Half the proceeds go to the Alresford YFC, the other half to the YFC chosen charity for 2017: the Murray Parish Trust.

Order in advance please by phone to 0753 119 3468, or email to

Trips on the Alison MacGregor

It was the longest day of the year, 20 June, when the Alresford Giles Group monthly outing went out on the Alison MacGregor launch, from Hythe, for a trip around the Solent, which in this case meant around the docks in Southampton and up the River Itchen for a look round there. Despite the rain all morning, which made two with faint hearts drop out, the weather was marvellous, and no-one got wet, even from the spray. The Giles Group ( is just one of several organisations in Alresford who take advantage of this charity run boat trip, and the Thursday Lunch Club and Ellingham residents have also organised similar trips, using the Town Minibus, which is just the right size, as the Alison MacGregor can only take 12 passengers.


The Alresford Town Minibus set off early to meet the boat by 2pm, and after a little messing about in the Marina we managed to find a toilet with disabled access, in the Marina Restaurant: many thanks to them for opening up for us specially! Then we set off out of the lock gates, although since the tide was in there was not much change in water level. This made the trip all the better, as we could see more on the docksides – which mainly was taken up with thousands of cars, Minis and Range Rovers, being exported in big car transporters.


Some of the car transporters being loaded

DSCN3521      DSCN3536

Cars awaiting export on Southampton Docks, and a new Hovercraft, which was later that week announced as the latest vessel to be purchased for the Portsmouth to IOW run.

You have to wonder how leaving the EU will affect the traffic in and out of the port – but there were a lot of JCB excavators as well, and JCB were one of the companies supporting the ‘Out’ campaign. Other notable items being prepared for export shipping were several large wind turbine blades, which the skipper described as ‘the last ones made on the Isle of Wight’, as production had been transferred to Norway – or maybe it was Sweden.


View of the port from Hythe

The commentary from the skipper describing the passing sights was really useful in understanding what we could see: whether it was related to the history of the port, or the old ships now being restored and used for pleasure trips, or the new docks for the large cruise liners – filled that day with yet another car transporter. Apparently these big ships with their multiple decks of cars get unloaded and loaded up again within 24 hours! The new cruise ship embarkation building has the old Calshot Spit light vessel on the rear of the dock: other old restored vessels were also moored around the harbour, and still offer pleasure trips – one example is the Shieldhall sludge boat from Glasgow, now cleaned – and fumigated!

DSCN3506     DSCN3487

Everyone enjoyed the trip, and, as a result of all that fresh air, all fell asleep on the Minibus on the way back, except for the driver: we arrived back home in time for tea, well refreshed by an afternoon on the water!


The Hythe Marina, where the Alison MacGregor is berthed.


This story about the Giles Group trip on the Alison MacGregor around Southampton Docks and Hythe had an interesting follow up! Just as we were returning to Hythe Marina, a very smart “Superyacht” was seen moving up Southampton Water into the Port area, between two tugs.


The picture I took of this Superyacht, called the “Lady A”, was spotted on FlickR by Charl van Rooy, Editor of the SuperYacht Times: he has now supplied links to two stories that his magazine has published, explaining that this yacht, which is owned by Lord Sugar, had probably just emerged from a 9-month refit and repaint at Burgess Marine, a shipyard in Portchester.

The links are

Obviously when the Lady A passed our launch, it was on a delivery journey after this refit, so that Lord Sugar could collect it, in its new colour scheme. The 55 metre yacht was originally built in 1986.




Alresford Defibrillator Scheme Explained

The Alresford Community Cardiac Defibrillator Scheme has been established as the direct result of an initiative suggested to the Alresford Pigs, who established a committee led by Chris Lillywhite of Alresford Pigs and Dr Peter Stokes from the Alresford Surgery. The scheme is operating in co-operation with the Community HeartBeat Trust, a national charity focused on the provision of life saving defibrillation services to local communities or groups, working with the local ambulance services (

During the Summer of 2015, seven defibrillators have been installed around Alresford and in Old Alresford, adding to the two other previous installations of similar units: an eighth new unit will be installed by the year end.

Why use a Defibrillator?

Inside the boxes at the various locations there is a simple, light weight “Automated External Defibrillator” (AED). This is a portable, light-weight battery powered electronic device that automatically diagnoses a patient who appears to have breathing difficulties or the symptoms of a possible heart attack. It looks for and analyses any life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient’s heart, and is able to treat them through defibrillation – the application of electrical therapy which helps stop the arrhythmia – thereby encouraging the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.

Heart treatment, if needed, is most effective if applied very quickly after the patient shows the symptoms, particularly within the first ten minutes after the event, which is why multiple units are positioned around the town. Before it arrives, use chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the layperson. This device should be taken to any unconscious or semi-unconscious casualty: if the patient is diagnosed as not needing any heart rhythm treatment, the machine will not do anything, and will not hurt the patient.

DSCN2373 SH4aHow to open the box!

All the bright yellow boxes have a key-coded lock, and a Serial number stamped on the outside. By dialling 999 and asking for help, the Emergency Services will despatch an Ambulance immediately, and a first responder if possible. The operator will also provide the keycode to open the box at your nearest operational defibrillator, and tell you where it is. Hopefully you can send someone to this location, to collect the bag containing the AED, and rush this to the patient. While they do this, you should continue chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation alternately, to provide assistance while the equipment arrives.

The AED will give clear instructions for use by way of an audio-visual display panel, and really can be used without any previous training. However the Community HeartBeat Trust is planning to arrange local awareness sessions for those wishing to learn more: the first is on Saturday November 14th at the ARC, from 1000-1230.

Where are the new public access units?

(Click on the pictures to get a larger view)

DSCN2128 SH4aSun Hill School Entrance: This unit is on Sun Lane, at the top of the hill, outside the Sun Hill school gate. The Serial Number is CHT-14-1320, where presumably the CHT stands for Community Heartbeat Trust, the 14 is for the year 2014, when our project started, and this is unit 1320. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.

DSCN2377 ABC3aAlresford Bowling Club: This unit is also on Sun Lane, at the gate giving entry to the Bowling Club, where the white lines on the road try to stop cars parking across the access. This unit was totally financed by the Bowling Club, but they have made it available for public use also. Serial Number is CHT-14-1319.

DSCN2379 CC1aAlresford Community Centre: Next to Lloyds Bank at the top of West Street, in the outside foyer of the Community Centre doorway, there is another unit, with Serial Number CHT-14-1325. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.

DSCN2382 OA 7aOld Alresford Phone box: This unit is in the phone box beside the Village Green, on the Basingstoke Road. There is no phone in the phone box, it was disused, and Old Alresford Parish Council have retained it, and have financed the purchase and installation of the Defibrillator. Serial Number is CHT-14-1318.

DSCN2400 Cedar 8aCedar Veterinary Surgery: On New Farm Road, at the junction of Covey Way, Cedar Veterinary Surgery have allowed the unit to be installed at the front of their building, on the left corner. The Serial Number is CHT-14-1323. Defibrillators are not recommended for use on animals! This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.

DSCN2140 ARC 6aARC: The Alresford Recreation Centre on the Avenue has a unit installed at the left hand side of the building, by the door to the Visitor’s Changing Rooms. This is also available for public use, but was financed by significant contributions from the Alresford Rugby and Football Clubs and the Tennis Club, as well as the Alresford Recreational Centre Social Club. Serial Number is CHT-14-1322.

DSCN2395 SB 10aStratton Bates Recreation Ground: The Defibrillator here is installed on the Grange Road side of the building, at the back of the building, next to the rear door, and facing/visible from Grange Road. The Serial number is CHT-14-1324. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.

DSCN2394 Linnets 9aLinnets Road: Hopefully to be installed before the end of 2015, another unit financed by the Alresford Pigs is planned for installation in the telephone box near the highest point of Linnets Road, on the path near the original two shops. The phone in this booth was vandalized, ie the handset was cut off, around a year or two ago, but BT did not think it worth replacing!


So the organizing committee approached BT and ownership has been re-allocated to them, for a nominal payment, for use as a Defibrillator housing! The new defibrillator was installed in February 2016, and is now operational: even the windows of the phone box have been cleaned up a bit! The phone booth now boasts a yellow and green Defibrillator sign facing the road. The Serial number is CHT-14-1321.

The Defibs need your help too!

The units are inspected every month, and any problems are sorted. But all the Defibrillators need annual maintenance, replacement of batteries and the adhesive pads supplied to attach to the patient, which costs around £80 per machine per annum. Your help is needed to raise this money to keep the service operating. Please help us keep these units operational, and donate something to our scheme now: please donate via the website, at


Other Alresford installations

Separate to the current 2015 scheme in Alresford, there are some other defibrillators around the town:

Alresford Surgery: Alresford Group Surgery in Station Road has a Defibrillator available for use on their patients: indeed to first such unit used at Alresford Surgery was donated by the Edward Pay Medical Fund. This defibrillator is part of the surgery’s equipment, and is not a public access unit. The Emergency Responders and the Emergency Ambulances also carry such equipment.

DSCN2410aAlresford Dental Care:

The dentist’s surgery on Pound Hill, known as Alresford Dental Care, has installed a defibrillator for which public access is allowed. This has been operational for over a year, and operates through the Hampshire and Isler of Wight Dental Committee scheme. It is located behind the surgery, in their car park, which is accessed from the Dean. When the Dentist’s surgery is open, they can provide assistance and give the access code. When closed, the normal 999 call is needed to obtain the access code – their box has no serial number, so the location (the Alresford Dental Care car park) should be quoted.

AGC 5aAlresford Golf Club:

This Defibrillator has been financed by the Golf Club itself, for members and visitors, and is located in the foyer, next to the trophy cabinet, at the entrance to the Club House. In case of emergency, contact should be made with the Office or Pro-shop, who will bring it to the patient if he is out on the course.



Defibrillator Installations in local villages:

There are other publicly accessible units spread around the local villages, which have been installed as a result of their own local initiatives. All those known are from the Community HeartBeat Trust, and are as follows:

Northington: DSCN2405 Northing 13aThis unit is installed at the front of the village hall, just off the B3046 on the corner of the turning towards the Church. The reference number for this unit is CHT-13-962.

DSCN2404 PC12aPreston Candover: The unit here is installed on the outside of the village hall, in the car parking area opposite the school. The reference number for this unit is CHT-14-1245.

DSCN2401 Wield 11aUpper Wield: At the cross roads on the corner of the village green, next to the bus-stop and shelter, there is a disused telephone box on the grass verge, which now houses a yellow defibrillator box! The reference number here, for this unit, is CHT-10-259, which presumably means the unit was allocated to Upper Wield back in 2010!

Bighton: July 2017, and a little bird tells me that a new Defibrillator has been installed at Bighton Village Hall, after a very short fund-raising period produced the money needed from local donations.