PICTURES: Eastenders star June Brown "hero" of storm-hit festival in Banstead

Organiser Peter Mitchell and June Brown. Photo: What's on in Banstead

Organiser Peter Mitchell and June Brown. Photo: What's on in Banstead

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Soap star June Brown, best known as Dot Cotton in Eastenders, was hailed as the "hero of the day" for braving the after-effects of Hurricane Bertha.

Undeterred by gales and rain on Sunday, Brown gamely showed up for the inaugural Banstead Community Festival held in Banstead Village.

Organiser Peter Mitchell said: "Despite the rain and wind, she entertained the crowds with her amazing personality, she signed autographs for as many people as she could.

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"We presented her a bouquet of flowers and she said ‘how about we auction these off and the money goes to the British Legion?’ They raised £100.

"She even had her own collecting pot for the British Legion - a remarkable women."

The Banstead branch of the legion organised the festival at Lady Neville sports ground, in Avenue Road, to raise awareness about its work and the centenary of the First World War.

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Festival goers, Laurence Hillion and her daughter, with June Brown

Its scheduled cricket match had to be called off and replaced by a rounders match due to the poor weather. But almost 1,000 people still turned out for the festival which included a falconry display, stalls and music acts.

Mr Mitchell said: "What a day - not even hurricane Bertha could dampen our day. Despite the wet weather and in true British Legion style we persevered in the face of adversity, old and young huddled together shoulder to shoulder in the rain.

"The bike ride may have been cut short but not Banstead Community Festival."

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He added: "The market stall owners were brilliant, even as the wind blew they stood their ground, determined to make this a success."

Major General Michael Steele, president of the legion branch, as well as MP Crispin Blunt, Deputy Mayor Councillor John Stephenson and Councillor Eddie Humphries attended the festival.

Banstead Cricket Club hosted the event which was sponsored by the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society and W A Truelove and Son funeral directors in Banstead.

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