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X Factor winner Ben Haenow hopes to thank Croydon fans with home town gig

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ON SUNDAY night Ben Haenow brought the X Factor crown to Croydon for the first time.

And the 29-year-old from Shirley said he would "definitely" like to come home and play at Fairfield Halls or Ambition festival in the summer.

He said: "Of course I would it's my home town, I'd love to come back and play for Croydon.

"The home support has been really, really overwhelming. I never expected people to get behind me that much. They have made my dreams come through.

"It's been absolutely unbelievable. Dermot called my name and I didn't even have time for it to set in and they chucked the mic at me and I was singing it again!

"I swallowed about three mouthfuls of confetti in that last performance, it was brilliant."

Last week around 4000 people braved the rain to watch Ben perform his homecoming gig outside the Whitgift shopping centre, which he said is still one of the "best days of my life".

"I'm proud to come from Croydon and I hope I've done them proud," said Ben. "From the bottom of my heart I genuinely can't thank people enough forgetting me to where I am. It just shows you what a community spirit we've got and I think we can all be proud of that as well."

The prize for winning the X Factor is a £1 million record deal and Ben is already off to a flying start with another item ticked off his bucket list with his first single, Something I Need, at number one in the iTunes download chart at the time of writing.

"How mad is that! Just to have released a single!" said Ben. "There are people like Bruno Mars in second place so to even be up there in the running with those names makes my head spin."

But Ben, who used to spend all day listening to the radio in his van, said he has yet to hear Something I Need come on the radio.

"I think that will be a really surreal experience," he said.

Ben, who has lead the public vote since week four of the competition and received 57% of all votes cast for the final, said he didn't know what the public perception of him was until his victory.

"It really humbled me to learn that. You see the audience reaction and the reaction from the judges but you don't know what the masses are thinking, people at home could be throwing their dinner at the TV," said Ben.

"I'm not getting mobbed, the supports been fantastic and I can still pop out and get my milk," he added.

Before X Factor Ben was in a rock and roll band called Lost Audio with brother Alex, and the winner said he is looking forward to writing his own music again.

"I'm really looking forward to getting gin the studio, working with my brother and working with Simon again," said Ben.

"I want to be fully involved in the direction I'm going in and I want to have a big input. I have a big back catalogue of original songs so it would be nice to bring those to the table and see if there's anything we can do with them.

"We've had a little discussion with Simon and he's really happy for me to get involved."

X Factor winner Ben Haenow hopes to thank Croydon fans with home town gig


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