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


Notices in brief...

For all the notices and more information, please see our Notices page



NSPCC - For adults concerned about a child: 0808 800 5000

ChildLine - For children and young people on: 0800 1111

Action on Elder Abuse helpline: 0808 808 8141

24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247

NAPAC – Offer support and advice to adult survivors of childhood abuse: 0808 801 0331

Stop It Now – preventing child sexual abuse: 0808 1000 900

Cruse – bereavement helpline: 0808 808 1677

The Downs Benefice Summer Walks

19th to 24th August 2019



Put these dates into your diary and join us during our week
of walks this summer.


See Week_of_Walks for full details and forms


It is for all of the communities of Chilbolton, Crawley, Littleton, Sparsholt and Wherwell: all are welcome.


There will be six full-length walks of between 8.5 and 9.5 miles and also eight half-day walks of about 4 to 5 miles.
Two years ago, we had about 100 walkers who each walked on average 2.2 walks.

It is hoped that all five communities will support this initiative.

Citizens Advice - Winchester District

has now officially opened its doors at their new location on Colebrook Street in Winchester, next to Winchester City Council offices. 

If you need advice you can visit the office during the following times:

Monday: 10:00-16:00

Tuesday 10:00-13:00

Wednesday 10:00-16:00

Thursday 10:00-16:00

Friday 10:00-13:00

Or alternatively call the Adviceline on: 03444 111 306

or visit 

Parish Magazine Deadline

Copy for October/November edition of the Benefice Parish Magazine should be submitted by 12.00 noon - Friday 6th September.

Lent Series 2019

Mission and Responding to God’s Call


This year we have invited various speakers to come and talk to us about how they have responded to God's Call and how their faith directs their life and work - to vocation and to their charitable works.

The series will start with services of Holy Communion and Distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday (6th March).

Over the following weeks of Lent there will be five talks. These evenings will take place between 7.30 and 9.00 pm and will be held in the respective churches.




ASH WEDNESDAY  - 6th March

Holy Communion and Distribution of Ashes

9.15 am – joint service with Sparsholt School at St Stephen’s, Sparsholt

9.30 am - at St Catherine’s, Littleton

12.15 pm - at St Peter and Holy Cross, Wherwell (with Chilbolton)

Wk 1

Tuesday – 12th March - 7.30pm

St Stephen’s, Sparsholt

Speaker: Judith Charmer and Sabrina Marsden, Winchester Hospice

Judith will be talking about the work of the Hospice and the fundraising appeal.

Winchester Hospice is part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) and will support and empower patients with life limiting illnesses, and their families, through a number of end of life care services run by HHFT. 

“Based on the very successful hospice model in Andover, The Countess of Brecknock, our plan is for a 10 bed inpatient unit with ensuite facilities, which will feel more like a home than a hospital. Here, our patients and their families can continue to enjoy special moments together whilst being looked after by our specialist team.”— DR STEPHANIE KILLICK (clinical lead for end of life care at Hampshire Hospitals, who will be the lead consultant at the new hospice).

Wk 2

Monday – 18th March - 7.30p,

St Mary the Less, Chilbolton

Speaker: Stuart Palmer, Boaz

Helping marginalized people and communities break free stirs Stuart’s soul.  After studying Business, Marketing and Engineering, the family business called, but God had other ideas including Traidcraft (fair trade), the CURE International Children’s Hospital in Malawi, Five Talents (microfinance) and currently Boaz, a therapeutic work community near Chilbolton.

Boaz is a horticultural project for adults with learning disabilities. Situated on a working farm near the junction of Hill Farm garage it provides opportunities for members to learn a broad range of transferable skills such as gardening, cooking and craft activities to help them in their day to day living.

Wk 3

Friday – 29th March - 7.30pm

Littleton Church Room

Speaker: John and Poppy Spens, The Brickworks

In 2006, sensing a call from God to Africa, John and Poppy resigned from their jobs and served with CMS Ireland as short-term mission partners in a town called Yei, in South Sudan.  John had worked in social housing in Andover and Poppy was a health visitor in Winchester.  John’s role in Yei was to interim manage the Diocesan vocational training college for returning refugees and Poppy helped establish the Diocesan Martha Primary Health Care Centre.  They lived in South Sudan for five years, serving the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, and the clinic grew to include an eye clinic, children’s ward and Mobile Clinic.  Ten years’ ago, they started a charity – The Brickworks – to raise funds to train South Sudanese young people and support clinics and schools, to which St Catherine’s makes an annual contribution.  

Until 2017, John and Poppy were based in Winchester and were keen members of Littleton Croquet Club! 

Wk 4

Wednesday – 3rd April

St Mary’s, Crawley

Robin Bayford will speak on behalf of ShelterBox

ShelterBox hand-delivers aid to families devastated by conflict or natural disaster, giving them safe shelter and the tools to rebuild communities, tailored to meet the needs of a community after a specific disaster.

This comes in the form of ShelterBoxes, containing family-sized tents specially designed to withstand the elements and provide people with temporary shelter until they can start the process of rebuilding a home, and ShelterKits. containing all the essential tools people need to start repairing and rebuilding homes straight away.

The kits and boxes also contain items which help transform a shelter into a home - like cooking sets, solar lights and activity sets for children.

ShelterBox also provide extra aid items, such as SchoolBoxes which contain everything needed to get lessons up and running after a disaster, depending on the situation. 

The global network of supporters, staff and volunteers make it possible to deliver aid to some of the most remote communities in the world. 

Wk 5

Wednesday - 10th April

St Peter and Holy Cross, Wherwell

Speaker: Lisa Rodrigues, Salisbury Diocese (Lisa lives in Crawley and is testing her vocation to Ordination).

Lisa believes that we all have a vocation and God calls each of us to use the gifts we have been given to serve in his name. Through the simple act of offering her hands to the Lord, she began the transformative journey from a Roman Catholic wife, mother, lawyer, lecturer and author to volunteering with vulnerable adults, spreading the Gospel through plays, organising ecumenical gatherings and, currently, ministering in the courts of law. Unexpectedly drawn into the Anglican faith in 2010 through her children, she is currently testing her vocation having heard a call to Ordained ministry in the cloisters of the Cathedral. Originally from Canada, Lisa worked in Hong Kong for 10 years, has travelled regularly to India and has made her home in England for over 20 years. She currently lives near Crawley and is gaining experience of ministry in the rural setting of the Downs Benefice.