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New British citizens are being welcomed to London by East 17's 'Stay Another Day'

By Amy Smith

There are some places you'd definitely expect to hear East 17’s 1994 hit ‘Stay Another Day’ – a Christmas advert for example, or during the emotional denouement of a festive rom-com, possibly starring Hugh Grant. But one place you probably wouldn't expect to hear it is in a town hall full of new British citizens, fresh from swearing an oath of allegiance to the UK.

Sources told Time Out last week that mayor of Waltham Forest called upon East 17 as part of a citizenship ceremony last week. Thirty people were welcomed to Britain with the immortal words of lead singer Brian Harvey after Cllr Peter Herrington, 69, heard the pop tune on the car ride to the town hall and the chorus got stuck in his head. 

'Stay Another Day' is now a firm member of the Christmas songs canon, helped along by the video that shows the band in fur-trimmed bomber jackets and the late edition of jangling jingle bells.

Though the mayor wouldn’t call himself an E17 aficionado, he is familiar with their music. ‘My son was a fan of the band, he actually knew Brian Harvey, so East 17 was played a lot in my house.’

Herrington usually mentions the '90s boy band (whose name references the Walthamstow postcode) in the ceremony, as part of a long list of famous residents connected to the borough. 

‘There's the first British motorcar inventor, sporting legends, film director Alfred Hitchcock, theatre actor Derek Jacobi plus popstar Brian Harvey,’ said the mayor. ‘It is quite a formal event, many of them are fairly nervous so these pop references help to break the atmosphere and bring out a few smiles from a few tense faces.'

Imagine the scene: you are sat nervously in the very official council chambers, waiting to take your oath and receive your hard-won citizenship certificate when the mayor, dressed in all his formal finery addresses the room with: ‘in the words of East 17’s most famous song ‘Stay Another Day’, we invite you all to do that’.

And amidst all the ugly mudslinging at people coming to this country, it's probably the best message we can hope for.

Inspired to check out the borough the made Brian Harvey? Use our area guide to the best bars, pubs and restaurants in Walthamstow.


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