(Attendees at the opening ceremony)
A new memorial field and wetland has been opened near the M25 after Thames Water funded a community project.
More than 200 people attended the official opening ceremony of the new field at Rye Meadows in Ashtead last month after a six-year long project to renovate the area.
The meadows measure 14 acres and the scheme was carried out by the Friends of Rye Meadows Group, and funded through Thames Water’s community projects fund (CPF).
Cathy Purse, the leader of the conservation team from Thames Water, said: “It’s been great to be involved in such a community focused project.
“The event proved how important this area is for the local community and I am proud to have been part of it.”
Sixty-two Ashtead residents perished in the First World War, and the field will act as a constant tribute to those who gave their lives for their country.
Work to transform the fields into the memorial and wetland, including the installation of a new pond and a boardwalk to provide access for disabled people, started in 2011.
(The new boardwalk at Rye Meadow)
The Friends group has also cleared stretches of the Rye Brook, widened the river and realigned the banks.
As part of the opening ceremony, children from nearby schools paid tribute to the fallen soldiers by creating audio profiles of the servicemen, which were played before and after the ceremony.
Representatives from the sponsors of Rye Meadow, including Thames Water, Surrey Infantry Museum, and the Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, Hugh Riley, also attended.The fields will now be managed by the Friends Group, and the Field in Trust group, which is a charity that aims to protect war memorials against future developments.