Families can again pay their respects at a graveyard containing the remains of WW1 dead after a succesful campaign to see the neglected and overgrown site cleared.

The Croydon Guardian first reported about the state of the desolate Netherne Cemetery, hidden on the edge of a farmer's field in Coulsdon, in September 2010, when it was overtaken by five foot tall nettles and plants.

The cemetery was formerly attached to Netherne asylum and has about 1,350 people buried there including First World War soldiers, patients and young children.

In the late 90's the hospital was refurbished into luxury flats by developer MJ Gleeson, who allowed the cemetery to become overrun by weeds.

For the last two-and-a-half years Wendy Mortimer along with history enthusiast Adrian Falks, have campaigned for the site to be cleared and the graves taken care of.

Miss Mortimer's great-aunt Frances Mabel Mortimer was buried at the site in 1915. The young woman suffered from epilepsy, which was not well understood in those days, and was brain damaged when she fell off a wall and hit her head.

She was sent to the asylum where she was classified "an idiot". Miss Mortimer, 55 said: "When we first went to the cemetery five years ago it was awful. There were brambles everywhere and you couldn't open the gate, we had to go under a fence to get in.

"I had a map of the cemetery so we could pinpoint her grave, but there were no headstones and you couldn't see anything."

At the end of May, managing agent Netherne Management got contractors in to clear the site and for the first time Miss Mortimer was able to access the cemetery and leave flowers in memory of her great-aunt.

She said: "I am delighted at the work; when we visited we took an artificial flower and we plan to get a small plaque engraved. I am still in shock it has finally been cleared, but it is nice relatives of those buried can now visit and pay their respects."