Nick Clegg invites owner of burnt down Croydon furniture store to Games closing ceremony

Maurice Reeves pictured outside his destroyed House of Reeves store Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The chairman of the family-run burnt down 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 House of Reeves in Croydon pictured after it was burnt down Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

In April, Gordon Thompson, 34, was jailed for 11-and-a-half years for starting the fire that destroyed the shop.

Gordon Thompson started the fire that destroyed the House of Reeves furniture store Credit: PA

The Reeves family have thrown themselves into riot-related charity work - covering the front of their remaining building with 4,000 photos of young people holding positive messages.

Trevor Reeves, one of the owners of House of Reeves furniture shop, looks through the window of his shop in Croydon, south London. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Alongside Mr Reeves will be another victim of the riots, Basak Kartal, who had to barricade herself inside her Turkish cafe and bookshop during riots in Tottenham.

Mr Clegg was impressed when he met her in the aftermath of the unrest, at the community event she organised to bring together police, shop keepers, residents and politicians.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has invited "inspirational" people to the Olympic Games closing ceremony Credit: Stefan Wermuth/PA Wire

Others receiving invitations include representatives of a Leeds urban regeneration project, Cardiff City FC's schools scheme, a Rotherham training college, a London decorating business and two of its apprentices and a Smethwick train depot manager.

Mr Clegg said:

"London 2012 has been a truly historic Olympics for Team GB and Britain as a whole. "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.