House of Reeves chairman Nick Cleggs guest to closing ceremony
The chairman of riot-hit furniture store House of Reeves enjoyed the Olympics Closing ceremony as deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s guest of honour.
Maurice Reeves and his wife Anne enjoyed a privileged view of the multi-million pound spectacle on Sunday night after being invited as an "inspirational person" the Liberal Democrat leader had met during the past year.
Mr Reeves, whose 145-year-old store was burned to the ground last August during the disorder was shocked to receive the invitation.
He said: "I couldn’t believe it. I just opened a letter in a brown envelope, thinking oh no not another brown envelope - and there was this beautiful invitation from the government. The tickets were worth £1,500 each, which was quite incredible."
The 81-year-old first arrived at The Strand to meet with Mr Clegg and a host of dignitaries before travelling to Stratford for the main event.
He said: "It was spectacular - words can’t describe it. The lighting and electronics were amazing, a showcase of British Music, like a glorious pop festival. The Spice Girls were particularly excellent."
Mr Clegg met with the Reeves family in the aftermath of the August riots and said he was inspired by the family’s reaction to their disaster.
The family has rebuilt the business and last week covered the building in 4,000 positive images of young people in Britain as part of the anniversary of the riots.
Mr Clegg said: "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."
Alongside Mr Reeves was 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.
Others receiving invitations included representatives of a Leeds urban regeneration project, Cardiff City FC's schools scheme, a Rotherham training college, a London decorating business along with two of its apprentices and a Smethwick train depot manager.