Deputy PM pays tribute to House of Reeves owner at party conference
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has paid tribute to the Reeves family on the final day of the Lib Dem conference.
Mr Clegg paid tribute to House of Reeves owner Maurice Reeves and said the 81-year-olds salvaging of his furniture store "should inspire a generation."
The furniture shop in Reeves Corner became a symbol of last summer's riots, when the image of the burning 145-year-old family run business was beamed around the world.
Comparing this summer's Olympic and Paralympic success with the chaos of last summer, Mr Clegg said: "What a contrast from a year ago when England's cities burned in a week of riots.
"When the images beamed to the world were not of athletes running for the finishing line, but the mob running at police lines.
"When the flames climbed, not from the Olympic torch in east London, but a furniture shop in south London."
Addressing his party, Mr Clegg used Mr Reeves as an example that showed success takes time and effort.
He said: "A 145-year-old family-run business, which had survived two World Wars and countless recessions, razed to the ground.
"Of course even then, amid the smoke and embers, we saw our country's true character when residents came out onto the streets to clear up the mess.
"We saw it again this summer when the Reeves furniture shop re-opened in new premises, the walls decked with photos of young people holding up messages of hope.
"And who put those pictures up? Young volunteers from Croydon and an 81-year-old man called Maurice Reeves, who like three generations before him, ran the shop before handing it over to his son.
"Maurice your example should inspire a generation."
Mr Clegg added that Mr Reeves, serving his customers again displayed qualities that would "see our country through these tough times" and would "guide the Liberal Democrats through tough times too."