This is the official website of The Downs Benefice Winchester, Hampshire.



Sparsholt Village Fete - Saturday 30th June, 1-4pm

Come along to our village fete in the centre of the village, have a great time and raise money for the church and village.

If you could spare any time to help out at the fete, or could help set up and/or clear up at the end, please contact the office and we will pass your details on.

A village resident who works for one of the F1 teams has given the Village Fete 2 tickets for the Silverstone Grand Prix and we're raffling them for £5/ticket. Apparently the tickets and car park pass are great - good location on the course and significant face value. We are hoping to sell only a few hundred tickets so the odds are pretty good. Please contact Alastair Barron (

Chilbolton Church Fete and BBQ - Saturday 30th June, 12.30-3.30pm

Watch Cottage, Chilbolton

Fun dog show, BBQ, beer and Pimms tent, tea and cakes, ice-creams.

Grand draw, bottle tombola, pony rides, stalls and games for all the family!

Messy Appeal! Needed!

For our July Messy Church we need several empty film canisters, th sort of canister where the lid fits inside the canister (possibly Fuji ones). Pleaes see our facebook page for a picture of the required items, or contact Carol Coleman on 01962 881886 if you think you may be able to help.

St Catherine's Annual Clear-up Session in the Church Yard 

Saturday 7th July 2018. 

This will start at 9.30am and finish at 12.30pm. at 12.30pm we will provide a ploughman's lunch for all participants.

We do try to keep the churchyard in good condition thrugh the year and receive complimentary expressions of thanks from those people who have relations buried at Littleton. However, there are many parts of the churchyard that need an annual spruce-up; last year we had around fifty people who volunteered. The difference when we had finished was fantastic, and we had a great time socially.

If you feel that you would like to help us to maintain the churchyard in a condition that shows that we cherish the area and, through it, those buried there, then we hope that you will be able to join us. There are tasks for all strengths an abilities, including catering. Please bring suitable tools (strimmers are especially welcome) but make sur that they are clearly marked with your name. If you would like to volunteer please sing the sheet on the font.

Eryl & Clive Thompsett, for St Catherine's Church PCC.

Christian Aid Week (CAW) 2018 - Littleton

This year's CAW has again been a great success. The answer to our frequent prayers for the poor and needy have been answered, not by inexplicable divine intervention, but through the spirit of compassion raised in the hearts and minds of ordinary people.

('God has no hands but ours'). Thanks to our volunteers and the generosity of people.

CAW raised £1,605. This is sufficient, for example, to provide 32 x £50 tool kits for people who have received training to rebuild their own houses.

Ann and David Naylor.

Would you like to ring Church Bells to mark 100 years since the end of WW1?

There were 1,400 bell ringers who never returned from the trenches at the end of World War One. The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has launched a campaign 'Ringing Remembers' with the aim of recruiting 1,400 new bell ringers this year and to ring all of the 5000 active towers in the country on the Cenenary Armistice Day, Su ndy 11th November 2018.

Both Crawley (5 bells) and Sparsholt (6 bells) need more ringers - please give it a try and become one of the 1,400 in the 'Ringing Remembers' campaign.

Come along to Sparsholt on a Mondy at 7.30pm, or contact Jenny Watson on 01962 808167; or Crawley on a Tuesday at 7.30pm or contact Amanda Bayford on 01962 776861.

Benefice Prayer List

Following the departure of Margaret Fowkes who had produced and distributed the Prayer List for some years, there has not been a published list in recent months. The list had been used not only by those who meet on Tuesday afternoons to pray for people in need or prayer in our Benefice, but also by many in their own private prayer times. the monthly prayer list is to be restarted and will be available at the back of the churches shortly. If you would like to receive a copy electronically, then please contact Carol Ward -

Karis Kids - new update!

We are delighted that a family from Chilbolton have offered to be a replacement link for a family who hae moved out of the benefice, but we are also now looking for a further family, individual or gorup to link up with a family in Okuvu, Kampala who had been supported previously by the youth group of the Hope Church in winchester. Writing to a linked family is not onerous, being 3-4 times a year, and receipt of letters back from the Ugandan family is so wonderfully uplifting. The support we can offer is so gratefully received and makes a real difference to the lives of these families, and in particular the children. The total cost of family support is £65/month. Individuals or families can join together to provide the total amount needed so please do not feel constrained by concerens about not being albe to fully cover th costs for the family; even as little as £5.00/month is appreciated. If you feel you could write, or mke a regular donation, or if you would like to be involved in any other way, please contact Carol Ward -

Looking for a housegroup?

The Saturday Morning Breakfast bible Study group which meets at Peach Hill, Crawley on 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month, would like to invite anyone from around the Benefice to come and join our number. We meet up at 8am for a continential breakfast, followed by around 45 minutes of Bible Study and discussion, finishing about 9.30am.

Our aim is to encourage each other in living out our Christian fiath and we use a variety of resources and study guides to help us with this. We try to keep things practical but aren't afraid to tckle the more challenging issues that might crop up too. We also pack in quite a lot of fun and laughter!

We'd love to have some new faces round the table. To find out the next dates or for more information gnerally, please contact Phil and Di Payne on

Peace and Wholeness Service

Coming to a church near you! is a new idea to help people get to the Benefice Service of Peace and Wholeness.  There will be an advert placed in the church porch asking for volunteers to drive to the service once a month. The thinking behind this is that many people don't like driving in the dark and in the winter so a 'Good Neighbour Taxi Service' may enable a few more people to access this special service. There will be a leaflet left in the churches which will explain more about the service, along with dates and how to volunteer.

St Catherine's, Littleton, car-ferry system

St Catherine's currently provide a car-ferry system to enable Sunrise residents and our regular congregation (who temporarily or permanently cannot drive) to attend Sunday Services. This is much appreciated by the users. The numbers of people using the service has grown and we need a few more volunteers to make their car available. If you feel able to offer help, can you please let one of the church wardens know? Dates are pre-agreed with each driver and the aim is to try and ensure that drivers do not exceed two/three Sundays a quarter (depends, of course, on numbers of volunteers).

Please do volunteer if you can. It is such a vital contribution to the wellbeing of parishioners.

Food Handling Training

Are there occasions when you help out at Church functions, perhaps preparing or serving food? Good practice requires those who do so to undertake 'training'. It would be really helpful if we had a cohort of people in the Benefice who have undertaken such training, or even completed food handling courses and obtained certificates, so that we, as a Benefice, meet current standards. Ruth Myers, of St Catherine's PCC, has recently run a morning for those who cook for the Littleton Lunch Club, and has offered to signpost this training, which is available free on-line, to anyone who would like to undertake it. Please contact Ruth by email: for further information.

Winchester City Centre Chaplaincy Law Courts Team

Are looking for more volunteer chaplains to join the Law Courts team, which is now well established and well received. If you are interested, contact the Lead Chaplain, Debbie Veel for further details or an informal chat - or 07834 540106.

The Vine Trust - volunteers

The Vine Trust is urgently looking for volunteers to help in their Christian Bookshop in Bridge Street, Andover. They especially need help on Monday afternoons, Thursday mornings and Saturdays.

The Vine Trust Bookshop is open 6 days a week from 10.00am to 4.00pm. They operate two shifts per day 10am-1ppm and 1pm-4pm and are looking for volunteers to help with either a 1/2 or full day.

Please contact Brenda Sleath on 01264 355706 or email or call into the shop to find out more.

Specialist Respite Care

Could you support a family who has a child with disabilities? Please see the link Specialist_Respite_Care

Winchester Street Reach

Many of us will have learnt about this detached youthwork project during our Lent series earlier this year. A 'Friends of Street Reach' membership is being put together where one can make a regular donation and in return receive newsletters, regular updates and more.

If interested, please contact Ben Martin, Project Manager, Street Reach: 

Parish Magazine Deadline

A reminder that copy for the Aug/Sept edition of the Benefice Parish Magazine should be submitted by 12.00 noon, 9 July  at the latest. Details of where to send your article or information can be found in the current magazine



 Sparsholt 100 Club

The Sparsholt 100 Club is a lottery, licensed by Winchester City Council and organised through Sparsholt Parochial Church Council and The Friends of St. Stephen's Church Sparsholt, for residents in and local to Sparsholt. There is a monthly subscription of £10 and a prize draw four times a year with a first prize of £100 and three further prizes of £50. Winners will be contacted personally, and names posted in the village shop.

By joining you will help to raise much needed funds in a very good cause which is to keep the church open and well maintained. Membership is by invitation and is limited to 100 members. A membership application form can be obtained from the Sparsholt village shop or from the membership secretary who is Ian Hay at Victoria Cottage, Dean Lane, Sparsholt, Tel. 01962 776 468.

 Bible Study Materials

Over the years the Littleton Mid-week House Group has used a variety of study guides to aid our discussions, and has built up quite a collection of surplus copies. We feel that these would be of benefit to other house groups, or individuals wishing to study particular Bible books or topics, and so have put them in the tall cupboard at the back of the Littleton Church Room. Pleae help yourself to any that you would like - the room is normally accessible during Benefice Office opening hours (subject to bookings).

 Live the Mission

The first issue of Live the Mission, sharing what parishes are doing across the Winchester Diocese will be available from September. Live the Mission will be a monthly newsletter which can be downloaded in different formats from the Diocesan website:


Benefice Office open daily 9am-5pm; E-mail Tel: 01962 880845