SHE set out to clear up a Hampshire beach with the help of a few friends.

But teacher Kate Collison ended up galvanising an army of volunteers to remove wreckage and rubbish from a storm-swept beach in Lymington.

After noticing the mess while riding her bike last weekend, Kate called for help over the Internet and soon found herself with 50 helpers covering a mile of coastline collecting 50 bags of rubbish.

Dubbed Kate’s Army, the group cleared around a mile of coastline finding chairs, lobster pots and even polystyrene chunks.

It comes as the Daily Echo launches a new campaign to find Your Flood Heroes, with Kate the first to be honoured.

Kate, 40, who grew up in Lymington, said: “I came down here on my bike on Saturday morning and the place looked a tip. So I put on Facebook I would be clearing it up and was looking for help and I would have been happy with just a couple of friends coming.

“I’m thrilled with the turnout and would be happy to do something like this again in the future if it’s needed.

“I have to thank and the I Love Lymington group on Facebook as well for helping make this happen.”

Kate, now of nearby Pennington, teaches at Coxlease School in Lyndhurst and has been a teacher for 11 years.

She added: “I’m so pleased so many children came today and gave up some of their half-term for this.

“If you start teaching them about the environment from a young age then hopefully they will pick up its importance and it will stay with them right through their lives.”

Eight-year-old Daisy Pidgley nominated Kate for getting so many people together for a good cause.

Daisy, a Pennington Junior School pupil, said: “Kate is a hero because she has cleared up the rubbish and organised the whole day herself. She has done a very good job.”

The group teamed up with countryside rangers from the county council, who were thrilled with the help.

Senior ranger Julian Sheppard said: “It’s been a brilliant effort and we have managed to clear a mile of the coast. This is a clear example of many hands make light work and an example of public good will.

“It was great of Kate to organise this and get this many people out and we really appreciate how the public have given up their time to clear up this area of natural beauty.”