The owner of the 147-year-old Croydon furniture store, which was burnt down during last summer’s riots has been invited to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games on August 12.
Eighty-one year-old Maurice Reeves, chairman and managing director of House of Reeves, will attend the culmination of the Games as a guest of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The Liberal Democrat leader said Maurice deserved a chance to be in the stadium as he was among a dozen “inspirational” people he had met over the past year.
“A letter came to my shop from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office,” an excited Maurice told ELL. “I was totally surprised. There were two tickets for the closing ceremony. So my wife and I are going.”
During an earlier interview with ELL Maurice recounted painful memories of the riots and said that the biggest challenge for him and his family has been to continue the business.
Images of the historic House of Reeves engulfed in flames were amongst the most replayed in the coverage of the London riots.
Maurice, who had“lost respect” for certain parts of the community after the riots said that he was “sceptical” at first about London 2012. “But after watching all the athletics, I am over-joyed,” he said. “It is proof of the good things we can do. The positive energy there is amongst the young people in this country.”
Maurice, who has led his family in rebuilding the House of Reeves business from its adjacent sister store, said the games have helped unite the country.
“The Olympics has brought all of the people across the country together,” he said. “Especially with the success in winning so many medals it’s unquestionable, we are one!”