Deputy PM offers Maurice Reeves, 81, whose shop was destroyed in last summer’s riots, ticket to closing ceremony
The chairman of the burnt-down, family-run Croydon furniture store that became a symbol of last summer’s riots has been invited to the Olympics Games closing ceremony by Nick Clegg.
The deputy prime minister said Maurice Reeves, 81, was among a dozen inspirational people he had met over the past year who deserved a chance to be in the stadium for the culmination of London 2012.
Images of the 140-year-old House of Reeves engulfed by a massive blaze just over a year ago were among the most replayed in coverage of the riots in London and other English cities.
The family have since thrown themselves into riot-related charity work – covering the front of their remaining building with 4,000 photos of young people holding positive messages.
Alongside Reeves will be another victim of the riots, Basak Kartal, who had to barricade herself inside her Turkish cafe and bookshop as the riots in Tottenham raged around her.
Clegg was impressed when he met her in the aftermath of the unrest. She organised a community event to bring together police, shopkeepers, residents and politicians.
Others receiving invitations to the ceremony include representatives of a Leeds urban regeneration project, Cardiff City FC’s schools scheme, a Rotherham training college and a London decorating business, as well as a Smethwick train depot manager.
“London 2012 has been a truly historic Olympics for Team GB and Britain as a whole,” Clegg said.
“Our unprecedented medal haul adds a new buzz to the excitement and anticipation around Sunday’s closing ceremony.
“It is a privilege to be able to celebrate the incredible achievements of our sporting heroes with just a few of the inspirational people I have met over the past year, who have made such a significant contribution to their communities.”