The runaway winner of the Selhurst by-election said Labour has done Gerry Ryan proud with the result and will be working to keep improving the ward.

David Wood retained the seat for Labour at the by-election called after the death of Councillor Ryan, who lost his battle with cancer on his 57th birthday on January 18.

Father-of-two Mr Wood polled 71.5 per cent of the votes, gaining 1,517 votes in the Selhurst ward.

From Friday: Labour candidate wins Croydon council by-election

His nearest rival Conservative Tirena Gunter polled 246 votes, but only 18.6 per cent of the 11,485 potential voters turned out.

The Liberal Democrat party came last, behind UKIP and the Green Party, with just 85 votes.

Mr Wood said: “I’m really pleased to win.

“The most pleasing thing is that we felt we have done Gerry proud in a lot of ways because the result was quite something because we had a margin that we did not expect.

“I think it’s helpful that I’m the local candidate and live in the ward and people see me around the place.

“It gives us a nice little boost ahead of the general election in May."

The 43-year-old, who works as a community relations officer at the Greater London Authority, added: “The main thing we have to battle on is getting the streets cleaned up.

“It is one thing getting rid of flytipped rubbish quickly but now it is a big job to stop it happening in the first place.”

He said he wanted to make sure Selhurst is regenerated alongside South Norwood and is also hoping to get a new secondary school in the area.

Mr Wood’s father Wilfred is the former Bishop of Croydon.