Exclusive report from Aveley’s count
ONE time pop icon, itinerant burger salesman and jungle celebrity David Van Day is now a politician!
The 62-year-old Brighton-born celebrity, who moved to Thurrock several years ago, was a comfortable winner for the Conservatives in today’s (Thursday, 21 March) by-election for Thurrock Council’s Aveley and Uplands ward.
The election was caused by the resignation of UKIP MP Tim Aker and his successor as the Independent Group candidate, Rev Alan Field, came second – more than 200 votes behind.
Labour veteran Charles Curtis came third with 394 votes and the Lib Dems’ Tomas Pilvelis picked up just 55 votes.
After the vote Cllr Day put his success down to hard work and the way he had charmed local voters with his charismatic approach. He said: “I’m very happy, this has been hard fought, I’ve worked very hard – I’ve done an average of 30,000 steps every day for a month so I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t won.
“Especially with the national backdrop the way it is it’s been hard to focus on the local issues but I think I did.
“I think I connected with the people of Aveley. It’s been neglected and I said that was because they haven’t had a Conservative councillor since 2011. That wasn’t down to us.”
The singer and media personality was at the peak of his pop career as the part of million-selling duo Dollar. He was also a member of the 1970s vocal group Guys ‘n’ Dolls, and a latter-day version of Bucks Fizz in the 1990s.
After a spell out of the limelight, he began a comeback on the reality TV circuit, with appearances on a number of shows. Even his wedding, to Sun newspaper columnist Sue Moxley was filmed as part of a TV competition.
He reclaimed his place as a national favourite in 2008 when he was a semi-finalist on the eighth series of “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here!”
Further TV shows followed, including hosting the eleven-part reality series Brides on a Bus on Wedding TV.
He first attempted to win an election in 2007 in his home town of Brighton. Beaten then, he returned to the hustings to fight for the Aveley seat last year and was well beaten by Mr Aker, but second time around he has proved successful.
Cllr Day first stood in the ward in May last year and polled 653 votes, while Tim Aker topped the vote with 1037. With the Independent share of the vote collapsing by almost 50 per cent and Labour’s by a third the step up of 120 votes for Cllr Day was more than enough to secure victory.
Turnout of voters in a ward that has increased in size by almost a 100 since the last election was down by almost ten per cent.
David Van Day Conservative 773
Alan Field Thurrock Independents 551
Charles Curtis Labour 394
Tomas Pilvelis Lib Dem 55
Turnout 24.49% Maj 222