Tim Farron
Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg look on as Tim Farron delivers his first speech as Liberal Democrat leader Getty

Hundreds of the Liberal Democrat faithful rushed to north London last night, circumventing the capital's rush-hour traffic and overcoming the humid heat, to witness Tim Farron deliver his first speech as party leader.

The yellow herd had just learnt from Twitter that the 45-year-old had beaten his only rival, the former care minister Norman Lamb, to become Nick Clegg's successor.

A long-line began to form outside the Islington Assembly Hall, and soon the TV production trucks rolled in and the activists crammed into the intimate venue.

There was a buzz about the place – lots of smiles, a good sprinkling of booze and adventurous eaters had the chance to devour "chili cheese hotdogs". But beyond the festival fare, was there any disappointment in the air?

"I would have been happy with both of the candidates, they're both excellent," Trevor Binley told IBTimes UK.

The supporter from Beckenham described Farron as "full of passion and compassion" and said he expected the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP to bring more social liberalism to the top of party.

Elaine Thatcher, a new member from north London, was also pleased by Farron's victory. "I joined after the disastrous election to nail my colours to the mast," she told IBTimes UK.

"I found it very difficult to choose between the two – they seemed like excellent candidates. I did vote for Farron but I wouldn't have been disappointed if Lamb won. [The deciding factor] was his vision of really knowing where you are going and what you are going for."

The chit-chat carried on as Liberal Democrat press officers assembled mostly young and attractive activists, armed with large orange signs, on the hall's stage.

Simon Hughes, a Farron supporter and former deputy leader, cheerfully greeted Clegg as the Sheffield Hallam MP made his way to the front.

Once enough of the faithful clocked the former deputy prime minister, there were cheers. More applause came as Norman Lamb joined Clegg and Hughes.

The North Norfolk MP later claimed "liberalism is alive and well" as he urged his supporters to get behind Farron as part of the "Lib Dem fightback".

The room now whipped up into excitement, attendees were given the main event. A jacketless Farron took to the stage and the activists roared. The new leader, with a sermon-like speech, paid tribute to Clegg, Lamb and the Liberal Democrat ministers of the coalition government.

Riffs like "immigration is a blessing, not a curse" drew cheers but the new leader's momentum was stopped when a young male activist, maybe engulfed by the heat, took a tumble from the stage.

The hall began to bounce as Farron cranked up the rhetoric. Riffs like "immigration is a blessing, not a curse" drew cheers but the new leader's momentum was stopped when a young male activist, maybe engulfed by the heat, took a tumble from the stage.

Farron, to his credit, made sure the supporter was okay before he continued. The Liberal Democrat leader went on to lay down a challenge for the activists.

"Pick a ward, any ward, and win it next may. Winning elections isn't rocket science but it is a science – do it, enjoy the fight, enjoy stunning the opposition as the comeback kids prove them wrong and we are uplifted by the difference you can make when you win," he roared.

"We may not be able to change Britain from the top down just for the moment, but we can change lives from the bottom up – that's community politics."

Farron said: "I want more MPs and before that I want hundreds and hundreds of new Liberal Democrat councillors, immersed in their communities and living their values by getting things done – step by step we will change people's lives for the better and as we do that we will regain their trust."

The leader ended his speech by reiterating the community politics message. The Liberal Democrat "rebirth" will be away from the "stuffy corridors" of Westminster, Farron claimed. His oration over, the Lancastrian left the sweltering hall to a chorus of "Tim, Tim, Tim".