Forest Gate schoolboys sing in Sadiq Khan
PUBLISHED: 17:25 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 May 2016
Mayoral candidates nervously awaiting election results last Friday were not the only ones uncertain of the morning's events.
Choristers at St Bonaventure’s in Forest Gate were also practising their set piece for a momentous occasion – but had no idea what for.
Peter Mwangi, 11, was one of the 19 singers who made the historical trip to Southwark Cathedral for the swearing in of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London.
“I was excited as it was very secretive,” said Peter.
“I knew we were going somewhere special but didn’t know where until we all met the headmaster at Stratford station.
“When he told us we were to sing at the swearing in ceremony I was very excited.
“I even had a nosebleed just before we went into the cathedral but luckily that stopped before the VIPs came in.”
The 19 boys serenaded the assembled dignitaries with two uplifting pop pieces: Fight Song by Rachel Platten and James Bay’s Hold Back The River.
They then mingled with celebrities, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Sir Ian McKellen.
“The audience liked our singing and everyone wanted to come and shake our hands afterwards even Gandalf,” added the Year 7 student.
“It was a very happy day and I will remember it forever.”
St Bons marketing manager, Di Halliwell, described the swearing in as an infectious occasion.
“It was a really special day, the boys were really excited,” she said.
“It all happened so quickly. Everybody stood up, it was very clappy and raucous and Khan signed the register for the declaration of Mayor.”
For many, the highlight was meeting a leading actor.
“It was brilliant, the head mentioned the boys would love to talk to him [McKellen] and he made a beeline for us.
“A lot of the boys are Lord of the Rings fans so they were able to talk to him about that.”
Khan won after landing 57 per cent of first and second round votes to succeed Conservative Boris Johnson as the next City Hall leader and the first Muslim Mayor of London, and Europe.
“It was something special. They’ve been used to a bit of pomp and ceremony but this was different,” added Di.
“It’s going to be a bit boring for the rest of the week now!”