A "gentleman of the old school" who took his dog into hospitals to cheer up the patients has died at the age of aged 87.

John Creedon, who lived in Ewell for almost 50 years, was a familiar face in Nonsuch Park where he used to go every day for 30 years.

Mr Creedon’s active life has been curtailed by poor health following a fall last year and he died from pneumonia on October 18.

Until last year Mr Creedon used to visit hospital wards and nursing homes bringing his dog along to cheer up patients.

He was inspired to register with charity Pets As Therapy when his late wife Joyce was visited by a dog in hospital in 1997.

Mr Creedon, born in Petersfield, Hampshire, joined the Army at 21 and served in Egypt and France.

While based at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire he met Joyce and they married in 1948.

The couple settled in Castle Avenue, Ewell Village, in 1963, three years after their son Geoff was born.

By then Mr Creedon had left the Army and worked for the Department of Employment in Wimbledon and as a disabled resettlement officer in Epsom.

With great aptitude and determination Mr Creedon persuaded employers to give jobs to mentally and physically disabled people.

He also collected for disability charity SCOPE, avidly read the Epsom Guardian, belonged to Howell Hill Residents Association and was a Freemason for 57 years at Petersfield and Stoneleigh Lodges.

On Boxing Day 2011 broke his hip in a fall and never fully recovered. In October he died at Epsom Hospital.

His son Geoff, who now has his own son Chris, said: "It is obviously a sad time for our family but we have been greatly comforted by the many messages of support and sympathy we have received."

One well wisher said: "He was a gentleman of the old school and whenever I saw him walking in the park he would always raise his cap to me in greeting, and then stop for a chat.

"He was such a lovely man and we shall miss his smile and seeing him walk Josh."

Anyone who knew Mr Creedon is welcome to the funeral at St Mary’s Church, Ewell, at 11am on Monday. He will be buried in the afternoon in Petersfield.

There will be family flowers only but anyone wishing to donate to Pets As Therapy can send a cheque payable to Pets As Therapy c/o A&E Longhurst. 21 Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 2DX.