Dollar star David Van Day has been elected a local councillor in a “hard fought” by-election.

The former pop singer, who found fame in the 1970s as one half of Dollar, stood for the Conservatives in the Aveley and Uplands ward on Thurrock Council in Essex.

He said he had grown tired of showbusiness and wanted to connect with “real people”.

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David Van Day won by a margin of 222 votes (David Van Day/PA)

Mr Van Day, 62, added that he wanted to feel “useful and effective” in a political landscape he described as rife with apathy.

He said: “The pop star business in the 80s was great but personally I don’t do it much any more.

“I played with (Abba tribute group) Bjorn Again at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire recently, and I enjoy the nostalgia market. As long as the fans are happy, I’m happy.

“But I wanted to engage with people. Musically it’s all changed so much and some of my colleagues might continue – I wanted to feel useful and effective in today’s world.”

He won the seat, previously held by independent Tim Aker, by 222 votes. The by-election was prompted by the resignation of Mr Aker, who had previously been elected for Ukip.

Mr Van Day put his win down to having “engaged the local people on the local issues”.

Thereza Bazar and David Van Day performing together as Dollar
Thereza Bazar and David Van Day performing together as Dollar (Andy Butterton/PA)

He said constituents had been surprised to see him canvassing and many thought he was filming for a reality television show.

The singer, who appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2008, said: “It was a hard-fought campaign. It was hard fought indeed and a team effort.

“I probably did about 30,000 steps a day. We were out knocking doors and speaking to people.

“People were surprised at first. They probably expected us to be on some sort of reality or game show, and for me to deliver a big cheque.

“It was hard to win them over at first but we showed that we knew about the ward and we won their trust.”

Mr Van Day, who lives in South Ockendon, unsuccessfully stood for the 2007 local elections in Brighton.

He said he had been motivated to enter politics after seeing how the ward had been let down by politicians.

He said: “Apathy is all over, whether it is local or national.

“The ward was neglected over the years and politicians hadn’t been pulling their weight.”