People power has transformed the look of a bedraggled war memorial just in time for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

An anonymous good Samaritan, responding to a letter in this newspaper complaining about the sorry state of the memorial outside Bourne Hall Park in Ewell Village, organised a small army to spruce the area up on Sunday.

The eight volunteers cleaned out the pond by the memorial and bought generously discounted flowers from Homebase and Mayfield Nursery to replant the adjacent flower beds.

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He said: "It’s a brilliant example of how a few people can get together and do something good for the community.

"We transformed it from a flat cake of mud with weeds to a flower bed of red, white and blue flowers. It’s particularly important because in four weeks is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war."

Clive Gilbert, a volunteer researcher at Epsom and Ewell Local and Family History Centre, said he joined in after receiving an email from the local British Legion.

Mr Gilbert said: "I thought that’s a nice idea, I will help out. We were a disparate bunch of people. It’s a jolly good idea. I think there ought to be more of it really."

Charlotte Moggridge, whose letter sparked the clean-up, said it had been in a sorry state and was an "insult" to soldiers who died in World War I.

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This week she said: "After returning home from holiday on Monday it was wonderful to see the locals coming together to keep our village looking how it should.

"We can't rely on our council to keep our village looking presentable and they have set a great example, I certainly will be getting more involved in the upkeep of the village and thank them for taking time out of their Sundays to do so."

Councillor Clive Woodbridge, who represents Ewell, said the council had already cleaned the stone, relettered names on the war memorial and repainted the railings.

Coun Woodbridge said: "It shows volunteers and the council working together. They kindly came along on Sunday morning to replant the beds that unfortunately the flooding had killed off."

An Epsom Council spokesman said that the organiser got in touch before going down to replant the flower beds.

He said: "The council fully supports any community action that promotes the visual appearance of any part of the borough."

The council spokesman said: "The main issue would appear to be the litter and the way it gets into the waterway."

He said they were looking for the best way to prevent the problem, adding: "Litter is removed on a regular basis."

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