Episode 5 Going Back Giving Back


Episode 5

Aled Jones presents a series exploring generosity. How can the owner of a furniture store destroyed in the London riots thank the community that helped him rebuild his livelihood?


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Transcript


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How often have you watched the news and seen disasters?

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-NEWS REPORTER:

-The sea rose up 20 feet, flooding the area.

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And tragedies?

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-NEWS REPORTER:

-The bomb exploded at about 3.10pm this afternoon.

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But what if you were caught up in the events?

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GUNFIRE

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I've been out there and checked so many bodies, and she's not there.

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And now, inspired by your past,

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you're on a mission to help someone today...

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We'd like to help someone, obviously,

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that's been through something similar as ourselves.

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Hopefully, I'll be able to help him to achieve some of his goals.

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..someone who has no idea that this life-changing gift is coming.

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-Oh! I don't know what to say!

-APPLAUSE

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Hiya.

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CHEERING

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Thank you so much.

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We're here today to surprise somebody very special.

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This is Going Back, Giving Back.

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It's August, 2011.

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SIRENS BLARE

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Violence has erupted on the streets of the capital...

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We've just been attacked.

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A rock has come through the window.

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..businesses are ransacked and torched...

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Oh, my God! I don't know why people do this!

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..livelihoods destroyed...

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There are flames going up the building.

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You know, ten minutes longer in that building

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and we would have been dead.

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..scores of families made homeless...

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He's a child.

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His precious things are here that he's lost that you can't get back.

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..neighbourhoods shattered...

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This is an attack on people who are now standing

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on the streets homeless.

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..in scenes that could have come from the Blitz.

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I've never seen anything like it in my life.

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It was absolutely devastating.

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The arson attack on this family-run furniture shop in Croydon becomes

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a symbol of the riots.

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That's our five generations, 1867,

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burnt to pieces because there's no law and order on the streets.

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But out of the destruction came defiance.

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A broom army of volunteers to the rescue.

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We want our streets back.

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This is where we live, and this is our community,

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and it's not for us to be bullied out of it by a group of criminals.

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Six years on, one of the brothers whose furniture shop burnt down

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wants to say thank you to the community

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which rallied around him...

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The support that we had after the fire was so tremendous.

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You feel that you just want to do something for the people

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that helped us.

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..by giving back to someone who did so much to help.

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Oh, my days!

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Why's there so many people outside?

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Oh, gosh, I can't even...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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During the London riots of 2011, shocking images

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of the Reeves family store being engulfed by hundred-foot flames

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were beamed all over the world.

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The family store in the heart of Croydon had been on the same site

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for almost 150 years.

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It was completely gutted in the blaze,

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and became a symbol of the chaos and disruption caused by the rioters.

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I've come to meet 61-year-old Trevor who runs the family business

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along with his dad and brother.

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Hi, how are you. Good to see you.

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-You too. Come in.

-Thank you.

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The furniture shop was founded by his great-great-grandfather

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back in 1867.

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Situated on a busy junction in south London,

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the shop, that was a familiar landmark for many in the capital,

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was destroyed in a matter of hours, devastating the family.

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How did you feel when that happened to your pride and joy, if you like?

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-Were you angry?

-I found myself having violent swings of emotion.

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You know, you were really angry one minute and then it was just despair.

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All that history, you know?

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My father worked his life in the business

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and built it up in the '80s from practically nothing

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to where it was then, and all the previous history.

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There's a lot of weight on these shoulders for me and my brother

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and my father. It wasn't an easy time.

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News of the fire at the iconic furniture store spread quickly

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and produced an overwhelming response.

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The next day you turn up and all the staff have turned up,

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and there's people everywhere and the police are trying to keep people

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out of the shop because it's a crime scene

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and they want to come in and they want to help clear up.

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But is it true that people were coming from far and wide

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because they'd bought stuff in your store maybe 20, 30 years before?

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Well, it's a generational thing.

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When you've been somewhere for, sort of...

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Well, at that time it was 140, 145 years,

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you've got three generations of people potentially

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that can be there.

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We had a chap come down from Leicestershire.

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He came down from Leicestershire and he said,

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"I want to buy a wardrobe and I'm not going to buy a wardrobe unless

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"your dad signs it on the back."

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Right, OK. Where's Dad?

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We need the sale, where is he? Come on!

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The way the community came together and helped the family when they

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needed it most had a huge impact on Trevor.

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What's prompting you to want to give something back today?

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The support that we had after the fire was so tremendous.

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You know, you feel like you just want to do something for the people

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-that helped us.

-So what sort of person would you like to help?

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Well, it's got to be someone from the community, I think,

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because it was so strong.

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I think we can hopefully do that but in order for you to give back,

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I think first we need to go back,

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so that involves you jumping in the car with me.

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-Is that all right?

-Yeah, that's fine.

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Come on, let's go for it.

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We're taking Trevor back to the summer of 2011 -

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to the shattering evening when he witnessed

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his family's livelihood destroyed.

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This is a journey you've made before many times.

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Any idea where we're going?

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Well, judging by the initial direction

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we're probably going to work,

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which is, you know, Croydon, where the store is.

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The shop is so well known they even named the street

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and tram stop after it, Reeves Corner.

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Because your family and Croydon go back many,

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-well, many, many generations?

-Yeah, five generations.

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My great-great-grandfather came from Sherborne in Dorset.

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Trevor's great-great-grandfather Edwin arrived in Croydon in 1867.

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He opened Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe, selling household goods.

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Trevor's grandfather William Thomas took over the business.

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Trevor's dad, Morris, then inherited it in the early '80s,

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transforming the store into one that buys and sells furniture.

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What was it like for you as a child growing up with it?

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The whole place was just wonderful as a kid.

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I remember going to my grandfather's office,

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William Thomas's office, and the only thing I'd want to go for

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is his drawer because he always kept

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a packet of mints in his drawer.

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And the company seal, he kept the company seal in his drawer.

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And I used to love putting bits of paper and pressing it and out would

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come the imprint of E Reeves Ltd.

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How fantastic!

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It was just the sort of thing you only use for legal documents

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and there was this wretched four-year-old

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coming and stamping everything!

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The furniture store wasn't just a business, it was also their home.

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Trevor grew up in a flat above the shop where he lived with his dad,

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Morris, mum Kathleen and brother Graham.

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I lived above the shop for probably about 15 years of my life.

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-Gosh.

-Various guises above there.

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I bet you were popular with girlfriends' families, weren't you?

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I couldn't possibly comment. Couldn't possibly comment!

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He'll be a good catch.

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-We can kit out our house.

-Yeah, kit out our house.

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We've got plenty of places to sleep!

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But everything changed in August 2011.

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The London riots were sparked by the police killing of Mark Duggan

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in Tottenham, North London, on Thursday the 4th of August 2011.

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A peaceful protest on a Saturday turned to violence

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against the police.

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By Monday the riots were spreading to South London.

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Trevor got a phone call alerting him that people

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were gathering around his furniture store.

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He rushed straight there.

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-So I knew there was something going on.

-Yeah.

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But you never quite know what.

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You drive down here and you know the shop is just around the corner and

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your heart's in your mouth thinking,

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"Crikey, what on earth am I going to find when I get there?"

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As Trevor arrived at about 7.30 on that fateful evening six years ago,

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the scene is one he'll never forget.

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As I walked in, there were all the crowds

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around the outside of the store here.

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They were smashing the windows.

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It was total mayhem going on out here.

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Rioters started looting Trevor's family shop.

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Just before nine o'clock,

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the arsonist is captured here on CCTV

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at the top of the screen setting fire to the building.

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There's something burning in his hand. He touches it to a sofa.

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You see the smoke and then you realise

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that someone's lit something.

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A passer-by is filming.

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I can't believe this. This building is...

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I've never seen anything like this in my life, ever.

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It's crazy. Like, proper.

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It's going to burst. It's going to pop through.

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What is wrong with people, man? This is just sick.

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Trevor sees his shop going up in flames,

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unable to do anything to help.

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It's going to go, it's just not going to be there in three or four

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hours' time and I was absolutely right.

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The place went up with such ferocity.

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-Did you watch it?

-Oh, yeah, I've got pictures on my phone of the fire.

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But the nightmare is only just beginning.

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With the shop now engulfed by an inferno of flames,

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the fire starts to spread and everyone realises

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someone is trapped in a neighbouring flat.

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Monika Konczyk runs to the window screaming for help.

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Locals ignore police warnings to stay back

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and defy thick smoke and heat to lay out cushions below.

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They yell at her to jump.

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Facing the prospect of burning to death, Monika jumps for her life.

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Incredibly, she is caught by a fireman below and escapes unharmed.

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As their shop burned down in front of them,

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Trevor and his brother Graham were interviewed on the BBC.

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Five generations, 1867,

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burnt to pieces because there's no law and order on the streets.

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That's Croydon and it's a shame, but we'll rebuild it,

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we'll be back in business and our furniture from our other store

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will still go out tomorrow morning and all the people who we've taken

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the money from, we're going to deliver their furniture tomorrow.

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Today, this desolate land is the site of the former

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Reeves furniture store.

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It's hard to imagine, standing here now

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that there was, what a three-storey furniture store here?

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Yeah, a three-storey furniture store, yes. It's a...

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I can visualise it now.

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-Just over there is where the desk used to be...

-Gosh.

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..opposite the door.

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I can see it all there, all slightly different levels

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from the old properties and the stairs going up

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to the Aladdin's cave upstairs.

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-There's a lot of history in this place.

-Of course.

-A lot of history.

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This empty space reminds Trevor every day of what happened that

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terrible night, but the family have managed to rebuild their business.

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Fortunately, the Reeves owned another building

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over the road which they used to store stock.

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This is where they've set up shop now.

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Well, as I can see, right behind your shoulders,

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-it's back in business.

-Yes.

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It looks great, the new store.

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We're very proud of where we've managed to get back to,

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we've just got to fight our way onwards.

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-Shall we take a look?

-Yeah, why not?

-Come on, let's go.

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Working inside the new store is Trevor's 86-year-old dad Morris.

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He came out of retirement after 16 years

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to help his sons restore the business.

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-How are you?

-Hello.

-Very nice to see you.

-And you.

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He too has vivid memories of that shocking night, but unlike Trevor,

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he didn't find out through a phone call.

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Instead, he'd just returned from a celebration dinner when he turned on

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the news to see reports of a building consumed by flames.

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I saw on television and I thought, "Well, that's not my shop."

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And of course it was. And then the rest is history, I suppose.

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How did you feel?

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Funnily enough, the doctor rang me up and said,

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"Don't have a heart attack."

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And he actually did do that.

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He said, "I know it's your shop going down, but just be careful."

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The following morning, well, I remember the drive down here.

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It is a thing you never forget.

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And then I saw the devastation.

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That morning, Morris was interviewed for the national news.

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I've worked all my life in them, developing the store,

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serving Croydon and it's utterly, completely shattering,

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mind-blowing that somebody can do this.

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I mean, it's been through two world wars,

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it's been through the deep depression in the 1930s,

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in the '80s and it wasn't touched.

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Yet, this has happened.

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How do you feel now when you look over at that site?

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Very sad because I spent half my life in that building

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and to see it go was heart-rending, really.

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The date itself is a happy day and a sad day for you.

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-Yes, definitely.

-Because it's your wedding anniversary.

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My wedding anniversary. Well, I shall never forget the date!

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That's true!

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No, it's a happy and a terrible day.

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But you have to move on and we put all our energy

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into the remaining shop, which we're quite proud of.

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The family business has now recovered.

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Both Trevor and his dad Morris agree this wouldn't have been

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possible without the overwhelming support

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from people living nearby and strangers further afield.

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The community was tremendous. They gave us full support.

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In fact, where I live, a whole row came and bought things from us.

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Did you ever think about giving up?

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Never. No.

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No, that's not my nature.

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And how do you feel about your son wanting to

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give something back to someone?

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Yes, well, that's a good idea.

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I don't know what is in his mind,

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but I'm sure anything that he says and does

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will be fantastic because that's what he is.

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Hey, check it out, you've got Father's approval.

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See? It was worth bringing me in here.

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-No, the community was so strong and behind us...

-Yeah.

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..with the common goal against the people that rioted.

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They took something from their community away

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which was that building that people had had generations with

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and they were so strong and so supportive of us,

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that if we have the opportunity, it's the right thing to do.

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You've definitely got the opportunity.

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-We're on a little voyage today as well, we're on our travels.

-Good.

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So it's time for you and me to get back in the car

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and we'll say thank you very much.

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I'm gutted, because I bought a sofa last week.

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If I knew we were coming here, I would have got one here.

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-I had the van as well!

-Oh, drat!

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-We'd even have given you discount!

-Oh, no!

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-Very nice to see you.

-And you.

-Come on, let's go.

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Remembering what his family lost in the 2011 riots and how the community

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spirit pulled them through,

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is what's motivating Trevor to want to give back.

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We think we've found someone who he'll want to help.

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The night of the London riots had a huge impact on Fatima Koroma.

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Appalled by the devastation,

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she was straight on the streets of Croydon to help clean up,

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kids and broom in tow.

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Living through the riots also motivated Fatima to want to help the

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vulnerable in the community and she now runs a food bank.

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That's yours today.

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-Is it?

-Yeah Unless you need something.....

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She thinks we're making a programme about Croydon after the London riots

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and has no idea that she could be in line for a generous gift.

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We've taken Trevor back to the summer of 2011,

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but now I'm taking him back much, much further.

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So have you got any idea where we're going now?

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-No idea at all.

-It's going to be a real voyage of discovery for you,

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that's all I'll say.

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Through hours of painstaking research,

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we believe we have discovered an extraordinary parallel

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between Trevor's great-great-grandfather

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who founded the family business and the London rioters.

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And how much do you know about the great great-grandfather, isn't it?

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Great-great-grandfather - Edwin Reeves.

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I know that he was an imposing gentlemen.

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We have a picture of him with his Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat

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and his cigar and his Abe Lincoln beard.

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-So he obviously was the, you know, businessman...

-Yeah.

0:18:010:18:04

..the powerful man then.

0:18:040:18:06

Edwin came from Sherborne in Dorset and was a cooper by trade.

0:18:090:18:13

Traditionally coopers were craftsmen employed by breweries and

0:18:130:18:16

distilleries to make slatted wooden casks and barrels bound with metal

0:18:160:18:21

hoops to store beer, wine and spirits.

0:18:210:18:24

It was a highly skilled and physically demanding job

0:18:240:18:27

that took four years of apprenticeship training.

0:18:270:18:29

Edwin left Sherborne in the 1860s to travel to London.

0:18:350:18:39

We've come to the market town of Guildford in Surrey,

0:18:390:18:42

30 miles west of Croydon, where Edwin stayed for a few months.

0:18:420:18:45

So why have I brought you here, do you reckon?

0:18:470:18:49

Well, there's something in the family that says that Edwin Reeves,

0:18:490:18:54

my great-great-grandfather made his journey to Croydon via Guildford.

0:18:540:18:59

-He did.

-And that is about as much as I know.

0:18:590:19:02

Well, you're about to find out a great deal more.

0:19:020:19:04

-This is David Rose. Hi, David.

-Hello, hello.

-Good to see you.

0:19:040:19:07

-He's a local historian.

-Nice to meet you.

-Hi there.

0:19:070:19:09

So, Edwin, great-great-grandfather.

0:19:090:19:11

We know quite a bit about him, don't we?

0:19:110:19:13

We do. He came to Guildford some time after 1861.

0:19:130:19:18

He comes to Guildford actually when the town

0:19:180:19:20

was almost on the point of crisis,

0:19:200:19:22

because every November 5th on Bonfire Night,

0:19:220:19:25

Guildford joined in with the revelries

0:19:250:19:27

as everywhere else did in the country,

0:19:270:19:29

but in fact things got really boisterous here.

0:19:290:19:31

In 1865, the Guy riots also took place on Boxing Day.

0:19:330:19:37

Men armed with clubs and flaming torches

0:19:370:19:39

marched through town, lighting fires and causing destruction

0:19:390:19:42

along the way.

0:19:420:19:43

So what happened to Edwin, then?

0:19:430:19:45

Well, it seems as if he somehow got caught up into events

0:19:450:19:49

that took place, known as the Guildford Guy Riots.

0:19:490:19:52

-OK.

-And he, sort of, didn't come off too well because of that.

0:19:520:19:58

-Where did he end up?

-Well, he was arrested.

0:19:580:20:02

And he was taken to what is now called the Guildhall.

0:20:020:20:07

On the 5th of January 1866,

0:20:070:20:09

Edwin and three other men came before the mayor of Guildford

0:20:090:20:12

at the town hall, charged with assault and actual bodily harm.

0:20:120:20:16

-So this is it.

-An amazing building, isn't it?

-It really is.

0:20:160:20:19

You can feel the history oozes out of the panels, doesn't it?

0:20:190:20:23

-And this is where Edwin ended up?

-He would have come here, yes.

0:20:230:20:27

What happened was the magistrate sitting here

0:20:290:20:31

decided that their case had to be dealt with by jury.

0:20:310:20:35

Three of the four were found guilty, including your

0:20:350:20:38

-great-great-grandfather.

-Oh, dear.

-Sent to prison?

0:20:380:20:41

This here is actually a document that records their time,

0:20:410:20:47

as you can see it there, and you'll find that Reeves' name is down here.

0:20:470:20:52

-Perhaps you might be able to see it.

-Yes, there's Edwin.

0:20:520:20:55

-There was Edwin Reeves.

-"Assaulting of occasion..."

0:20:550:20:58

"Occasion and actual bodily harm."

0:20:580:21:00

Actual bodily harm.

0:21:000:21:02

What a horrible drunken person he must've been on

0:21:020:21:04

that particular night!

0:21:040:21:05

He's sent to prison for a year...

0:21:050:21:08

-A year.

-..with hard labour.

0:21:080:21:10

Can you imagine? The magistrate would be sitting here looking at my

0:21:100:21:12

great-grandfather, wagging his finger

0:21:120:21:14

as he sends him down for a year.

0:21:140:21:16

-Blimey, that's a bit frightening, really.

-It is, isn't it?

0:21:160:21:19

But, convicted rioter Edwin was about to be thrown a lifeline.

0:21:210:21:25

So this is an editorial column that the newspaper wrote after Reeves

0:21:270:21:32

was sent to prison and interestingly,

0:21:320:21:35

it's almost taking pity on him.

0:21:350:21:38

"We confess that we feel for these three men something akin to pity.

0:21:390:21:44

"We would, if we could, have placed in the dock beside them others more

0:21:440:21:47

"guilty than they."

0:21:470:21:49

It's kind of basically saying that he was probably in the wrong place

0:21:490:21:52

-at the wrong time and got mixed up in all of this...

-Yes...

0:21:520:21:55

..when really there were other people more guilty than he.

0:21:550:21:58

Yes, he paid a heavy price just for being where he was and getting

0:21:580:22:01

-involved in it all.

-Yeah.

0:22:010:22:03

In this, it appears the community felt Edwin

0:22:030:22:05

had indeed paid a high price for getting mixed up in the riots.

0:22:050:22:09

I think the town felt that because the riots had gone on for a lot

0:22:100:22:13

longer than he was here, he was only in Guildford a short amount of time,

0:22:130:22:17

-he got caught up at the end...

-Caught up...

0:22:170:22:20

At the end of this.

0:22:200:22:22

Edwin came out of prison in 1867, the same year he established what

0:22:220:22:26

would become the family furniture shop.

0:22:260:22:29

People have taken pity on him, he's come out,

0:22:310:22:34

he's packed his family. "Right, OK, we're off."

0:22:340:22:36

"Croydon here we come. We're going to go

0:22:360:22:38

"and we're going to start something."

0:22:380:22:40

The town of Guildford and what have you

0:22:400:22:42

have given back to him the ability to be able to say,

0:22:420:22:44

"OK, you've had a bit of a hard time and everything,

0:22:440:22:46

"you made a few mistakes, now get on, start yourself again."

0:22:460:22:49

-Fascinating, isn't it?

-It's amazing, yeah.

0:22:490:22:51

Well, what a day it's been for Trevor digging into his past.

0:22:540:22:57

I think he has found it fascinating, also quite overwhelming.

0:22:570:23:01

You know, the memories of his own store burning down six years ago now

0:23:010:23:04

are still very raw. I was hoping that by going back

0:23:040:23:07

and finding out more about his great-great-grandfather

0:23:070:23:10

and how he managed to turn his life from bad to good,

0:23:100:23:13

it would reinforce that desire in Trevor

0:23:130:23:15

to want to help someone else.

0:23:150:23:17

We think we've found someone within his community whose

0:23:170:23:20

story will really move him.

0:23:200:23:22

Fatima Koroma was deeply affected by the riots of 2011 and vowed to do

0:23:250:23:29

something to help her home town of Croydon get back on its feet.

0:23:290:23:33

Along with hundreds of citizens around the capital,

0:23:370:23:39

she opened her front door and descended onto the streets

0:23:390:23:42

to fight back, armed with goodwill, brooms and elbow grease.

0:23:420:23:46

Just as the looters and the rioters have been on a wrecking spree,

0:23:480:23:52

so these people have sought to put it right.

0:23:520:23:56

They've been dubbed the Broom Army

0:23:560:23:58

and they're at work across the capital.

0:23:580:24:01

Fatima's dedication to her home town didn't stop there.

0:24:010:24:05

The riots shone a light on the gaping social division

0:24:050:24:08

in the community. She wanted to help and set up a food bank.

0:24:080:24:12

When the riots happened, it showed there was a real need.

0:24:140:24:17

It showed there was a, you know, a real large group of marginalised

0:24:170:24:21

people and food poverty was an actual problem

0:24:210:24:23

that we didn't actually realise how big it was.

0:24:230:24:26

For the last six years, Fatima has devoted her life to establishing

0:24:260:24:30

the food bank and helping others.

0:24:300:24:32

Peanut butter is a big request.

0:24:320:24:35

And chicken in white sauce.

0:24:350:24:37

I think Fatima genuinely cares about the people who come here and ask

0:24:370:24:41

Fatima for support and help,

0:24:410:24:43

because I find that she genuinely has helped me.

0:24:430:24:46

But it hasn't always been easy for her.

0:24:470:24:49

She's had to get by with little in the way of income,

0:24:490:24:52

at the same time as bringing up three children as a single mum.

0:24:520:24:55

My mum's been working so hard.

0:25:010:25:02

She started this in 2011 and she's just kept on striving to do her best

0:25:020:25:06

to just keep on doing what she's doing.

0:25:060:25:08

And she still hasn't stopped.

0:25:080:25:09

I wash every day. I don't mind whose day it is.

0:25:090:25:12

Yes, she always works hard.

0:25:130:25:15

She's selfless. She only usually worries about everyone else

0:25:150:25:18

and sometimes forgets to think about herself.

0:25:180:25:20

You know, there are good people out there in the world and it's nice to

0:25:200:25:23

know my mum's one of them.

0:25:230:25:25

I guess I just like doing stuff that helps people.

0:25:250:25:29

You, I just... Yeah, I just like doing what I do.

0:25:290:25:34

I enjoy making people happy.

0:25:340:25:36

I enjoy seeing people happy, you know,

0:25:360:25:38

and I think that's why I continue doing it.

0:25:380:25:40

Fatima's selfless devotion to the community during and after the riots

0:25:410:25:45

should appeal to Trevor.

0:25:450:25:47

He wants to give back to someone locally and we think her story will

0:25:470:25:50

resonate with him.

0:25:500:25:52

Yeah, it's going to be a really interesting...

0:25:540:25:56

A really interesting chat with her.

0:25:560:25:59

We've all had a common experience so we're going to see how we can

0:25:590:26:03

actually make things link together.

0:26:030:26:05

I'm looking forward to it.

0:26:050:26:07

Fatima's food bank is right in the heart of Croydon town centre,

0:26:070:26:10

very close to the House of Reeves.

0:26:100:26:12

-Morning!

-Good morning!

0:26:130:26:16

Despite being neighbours, Fatima and Trevor have never met.

0:26:160:26:20

Welcome to our little corner.

0:26:200:26:23

It is a little corner, indeed.

0:26:230:26:25

She thinks we're making a programme about Croydon after the London riots

0:26:250:26:29

and is completely unaware that she could be in line

0:26:290:26:31

-for a generous gift.

-You're getting a lot of donations.

0:26:310:26:33

How do you...? You obviously don't fit it in, do you?

0:26:330:26:36

-No, we don't.

-Because you get overflowed.

0:26:360:26:38

But what is the wonderful thing about in here,

0:26:380:26:42

is we can have that much food one minute,

0:26:420:26:44

and the next thing we don't have nothing.

0:26:440:26:46

There's peaks when you get lots of people needing the food.

0:26:460:26:50

And then it just goes.

0:26:500:26:52

Impressed by Fatima's food bank,

0:26:520:26:54

Trevor wants to learn more about how that fateful night in 2011

0:26:540:26:58

encouraged her to reach out to the community.

0:26:580:27:01

Did you have any idea something might be kicking off in Croydon?

0:27:010:27:04

Never, never. No sign.

0:27:040:27:06

I mean, we'd all heard about the young man in North London.

0:27:060:27:12

-Yeah.

-But to say it was going to bring a riot to Croydon, no.

0:27:120:27:17

I had no idea.

0:27:170:27:19

Trouble was spreading across the capital.

0:27:190:27:21

Fatima had gone shopping in Croydon town centre with her daughter,

0:27:210:27:24

who was only ten at the time.

0:27:240:27:27

She realised something was terribly wrong,

0:27:270:27:29

and fearing for the safety of her and her child,

0:27:290:27:31

got home as fast as she could.

0:27:310:27:33

As soon as she got indoors, Fatima turned on the TV.

0:27:330:27:37

-NEWS REPORTER:

-A massive blaze is burning in Croydon

0:27:390:27:41

in South London after a furniture store was set alight.

0:27:410:27:44

And then we started getting the report.

0:27:450:27:48

Yeah, that everything was going on in Croydon

0:27:480:27:51

down at Reeves' Corner and all that.

0:27:510:27:53

Yeah, that was scary. But there was that big flame.

0:27:530:27:56

And it was like you recognised where it was straightaway,

0:27:560:27:58

even before they'd said, "Oh, it's Reeves furniture shop."

0:27:580:28:01

So the next day when it had all sort of calmed down,

0:28:010:28:03

what was left of our shop was sitting there smouldering

0:28:030:28:06

and we decided it was time to do something.

0:28:060:28:09

There were the odd reports about clean-ups happening and my kids,

0:28:090:28:13

I was, like, "Look, this is what's going on."

0:28:130:28:15

And I think it was important for me to...

0:28:150:28:18

You know, to teach them that everyone's

0:28:180:28:20

got to, kind of, pull in and fix this.

0:28:200:28:23

Yeah, everyone's been hit like this, so let's sort it all out.

0:28:230:28:27

And they were scared. So I think it was a way of showing them,

0:28:270:28:32

"Look, there's nothing to fear.

0:28:320:28:33

"This happened and now we're just going to fix it all up.

0:28:330:28:36

"And we're just going to move on."

0:28:360:28:37

-Just get back and sort ourselves out, yeah.

-Yeah.

0:28:370:28:40

Like, everywhere else I've lived, I've never said,

0:28:400:28:42

"I've taken on ownership of that area as like a name."

0:28:420:28:45

And I feel like I'm a proud Croydonian.

0:28:450:28:48

While Trevor considers if Fatima is the right person to help and how,

0:28:510:28:55

I'm off to meet Fatima's best friend, Arlene,

0:28:550:28:57

to find out a bit more myself.

0:28:570:29:00

I'm desperate to know, what's she really like?

0:29:000:29:03

Fatima's so caring.

0:29:030:29:05

I feel that she's a great asset to the community.

0:29:050:29:09

It seems that she never seems to have any time for herself.

0:29:090:29:12

You know, she's got three kids, and as you say,

0:29:120:29:14

always helping in the community.

0:29:140:29:15

I feel that's down to her being selfless

0:29:150:29:18

and to know that she will go beyond for anybody.

0:29:180:29:24

And above and beyond she went.

0:29:240:29:27

In the aftermath of the riots,

0:29:270:29:29

Fatima realised she could make a difference

0:29:290:29:31

to hundreds of people's lives with her food bank.

0:29:310:29:33

-After the riots, a lot of money was pumped into the area as well.

-Yeah.

0:29:340:29:38

That money allowed for certain other developments and the knock-on

0:29:380:29:43

effects where people like myself, you know,

0:29:430:29:46

the voluntary sector organisations,

0:29:460:29:48

being able to do the work that they needed to do.

0:29:480:29:52

After five years of running the service,

0:29:520:29:54

Fatima wanted to do more for the people using the food bank -

0:29:540:29:58

by helping them find jobs,

0:29:580:30:00

giving advice with applications and interviews.

0:30:000:30:03

So I concentrate on the low skill stuff.

0:30:030:30:05

We're always going to need cleaners and we're always going to need,

0:30:050:30:08

you know, the catering staff.

0:30:080:30:09

-We'll always need people to move furniture around.

-Exactly!

0:30:090:30:12

So that's what we're focusing on.

0:30:120:30:14

Fatima has been recognised for her work,

0:30:150:30:18

having won Croydon's Civic and Guardian's Champion awards

0:30:180:30:21

for her dedication to the community.

0:30:210:30:24

You know, I always wanted to do something that was giving.

0:30:240:30:27

I did kind of get a bit of a food bank lady label,

0:30:270:30:30

-but at the same time, it's not a bad label.

-Yeah.

0:30:300:30:33

Because at the end of the day, someone's got to do it

0:30:330:30:36

and the people that come in here need that support.

0:30:360:30:39

You have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies.

0:30:390:30:41

Well, that must divert an awful lot of your attention away

0:30:410:30:44

from your family and everything.

0:30:440:30:46

Well, no, because I just drag them in!

0:30:460:30:48

With Trevor and Fatima getting along so well,

0:30:510:30:53

it's time to let best friend Arlene in on our secret -

0:30:530:30:57

that Fatima might be in line for a gift.

0:30:570:31:00

You know she thinks we're making a programme about the community here

0:31:000:31:03

in Croydon after the riots.

0:31:030:31:05

Well, it's not the full story, because actually the show is called,

0:31:050:31:08

Going Back, Giving Back.

0:31:080:31:09

And we're going to be surprising her.

0:31:090:31:12

Trevor, who she's meeting, he lost his store in the riots,

0:31:120:31:16

-it burnt down.

-OK.

0:31:160:31:18

But he's been thinking a lot about that day and he's decided that he

0:31:180:31:21

wants to help and give something back to somebody in the community,

0:31:210:31:25

-and that's where your friend comes in.

-OK, that's lovely.

0:31:250:31:28

How do you think Trevor will be able to help her?

0:31:280:31:30

Putting something in towards the centre

0:31:300:31:33

and maybe something at home?

0:31:330:31:35

She definitely deserves kind of me-time, doesn't she?

0:31:350:31:38

Yeah, definitely. She works so hard.

0:31:380:31:41

So it would be good if she could get something back.

0:31:410:31:43

What will her reaction be like when we surprise her?

0:31:430:31:46

She will be nervous but excited at the same time.

0:31:460:31:49

-Really?

-Yeah.

-Is she going to scream?

-Most probably.

0:31:490:31:53

Good!

0:31:530:31:55

-Can you keep it a secret?

-Yes, I will.

-Good.

0:31:550:31:57

Arlene is clearly very proud of her friend Fatima,

0:32:000:32:03

and how could she not be?

0:32:030:32:05

You know, it's incredible to hear just how selfless she is,

0:32:050:32:07

devoting her whole life to improving other people's lives.

0:32:070:32:11

I just hope that Trevor is as bowled over by her generosity

0:32:110:32:14

as I've been and I really hope we can pull off this surprise.

0:32:140:32:17

Trevor has been inspired by Fatima who was so selfless in her desire

0:32:220:32:26

to help people like him after the riots.

0:32:260:32:29

But will he feel compelled to give something back to her?

0:32:290:32:32

To help him make this vital decision,

0:32:320:32:35

he's called a family conference with his dad and brother.

0:32:350:32:38

I had a conversation with a lady called Fatima.

0:32:400:32:44

She did a lot of work after the riots.

0:32:440:32:47

She was out with her kids, sweeping up the day afterwards.

0:32:470:32:50

So she has a direct involvement with our shared experience there,

0:32:500:32:55

but not only that, it would appear that she's initiated a food bank.

0:32:550:32:58

She's listened to people that come through the door,

0:32:580:33:02

and then she's actually pushing back out into the community by trying

0:33:020:33:05

to help these people.

0:33:050:33:06

She's finding them interviews, she's finding them job experience.

0:33:060:33:11

It just seems to me that she worked so hard

0:33:110:33:13

and she has been working very hard,

0:33:130:33:15

she's probably the best recipient I can think of.

0:33:150:33:18

Since meeting Fatima, Trevor has been trying to find out

0:33:180:33:20

what might help her centre and help her personally.

0:33:200:33:23

She also seems to have a...

0:33:250:33:28

Not enough time for herself.

0:33:280:33:30

I know through the grapevine,

0:33:300:33:32

I've heard that she's having some work done,

0:33:320:33:35

or people coming to do stuff for her,

0:33:350:33:37

so I think we might be able to help her.

0:33:370:33:40

I can't think of anybody better.

0:33:400:33:42

She does such a tremendous job for all the community.

0:33:420:33:46

And all the things you've just now said,

0:33:460:33:47

that I think she's an ideal choice.

0:33:470:33:49

-What do you think, Graham?

-Yeah, you've done all right there,

0:33:490:33:52

I'll give you that. You've done all right there.

0:33:520:33:53

-You get my vote, well done, Trevor.

-OK.

0:33:530:33:56

The family think Fatima is a worthy recipient.

0:33:560:33:58

Now it's down to Trevor to decide how he can make a difference

0:34:000:34:03

to her life.

0:34:030:34:05

Well, it's been a week since I saw Trevor.

0:34:050:34:07

I'm really keen to find out how his meeting with Fatima went.

0:34:070:34:10

Hearing from Arlene, there's no doubt that Fatima

0:34:100:34:12

is an inspirational person, keen to help out with every aspect

0:34:120:34:16

of the community, as well as bringing up her three children.

0:34:160:34:19

She could really benefit from Trevor's help.

0:34:190:34:22

I hope her story's moved him and that he feels

0:34:220:34:24

that she's the right person to give back to.

0:34:240:34:26

Trevor's waiting for me at a cafe just around the corner from where

0:34:290:34:31

Fatima is hard at work.

0:34:310:34:33

It's time to find out what he's decided to do.

0:34:330:34:36

-So, you've met up with Fatima?

-Yes. Yes, I have.

0:34:390:34:42

She's got three children and yet she just seems

0:34:420:34:45

to give of herself constantly.

0:34:450:34:46

I don't know where she finds the time to do it, I honestly don't.

0:34:460:34:50

She seems to really, really care about this community.

0:34:500:34:53

She does. She's got a history behind her that seems to, sort of,

0:34:530:34:57

make her want to do it. She's very driven.

0:34:570:34:59

How she sort of manages to maintain a home

0:34:590:35:01

with the three children, I don't know.

0:35:010:35:04

You know, she's out the night after the riots cleaning up

0:35:040:35:07

with her kids and things. It's selfless.

0:35:070:35:10

The million-dollar question, I suppose,

0:35:100:35:11

-are you going to be able to help her?

-We'd like to think so.

0:35:110:35:15

I had a meeting with my brother and my father.

0:35:150:35:17

What we've come up with is to be able to provide a week's work

0:35:170:35:22

for a builder/decorator to help her in her home,

0:35:220:35:25

and also we're going to give her some credit for furniture

0:35:250:35:28

which she can come and look at in our store.

0:35:280:35:31

You know, we have the beds, we have the sofas,

0:35:310:35:33

so that she can just make her home a little bit more comfortable for

0:35:330:35:37

-her and her kids.

-Brilliant.

0:35:370:35:38

And if she wants to take it up, a lot of the people that she does see

0:35:380:35:42

and she's trying to help, are trying to go to interviews,

0:35:420:35:45

so I said that I will dedicate some of my time

0:35:450:35:47

just to sit down with them and say,

0:35:470:35:49

"When you go to an interview, and you are in front of someone

0:35:490:35:52

"like me, try and behave like this."

0:35:520:35:54

Give a little bit of impetus and push towards helping them.

0:35:540:35:57

That's really wonderful. That's very, very kind of you.

0:35:570:36:00

Have you put all of your thoughts down in a letter?

0:36:000:36:02

-I have.

-Have you got it with you?

-I have.

0:36:020:36:03

Because I think we should go and surprise her, don't you?

0:36:030:36:06

-How are you feeling about this?

-I don't know if I'll get a word in edgeways!

0:36:060:36:09

-But let's go and see what we can do.

-Let's try. Come on, let's go.

0:36:090:36:12

What a journey it's been for Trevor,

0:36:120:36:14

but now is the moment that will make it all worth it -

0:36:140:36:17

telling Fatima what we've really been up to

0:36:170:36:20

and presenting her with a gift

0:36:200:36:21

that will hopefully make a huge difference to her.

0:36:210:36:23

We're on the way to the food bank to surprise her.

0:36:270:36:30

-How are you feeling now?

-A bit excited.

-Yeah.

0:36:300:36:33

A bit apprehensive, a bit, sort of...

0:36:330:36:35

It's out of my comfort zone, really.

0:36:350:36:37

-Yeah.

-So, you know...

-It's amazing, though, isn't it?

0:36:370:36:40

She's exactly what you were looking for, really.

0:36:400:36:42

It really resounds with us,

0:36:420:36:43

the things that she's done with the community.

0:36:430:36:46

And right on cue,

0:36:460:36:47

Arlene's pitched up with a group of Fatima's friends and colleagues

0:36:470:36:51

to make this even more of a surprise.

0:36:510:36:54

So, Fatima's got no idea that we're doing this.

0:36:540:36:57

How do you think she will react?

0:36:570:36:59

-She'll be surprised.

-Surprised!

0:36:590:37:00

Yeah? Right, shall we go and do it?

0:37:000:37:02

WHISPERS: We've got to be really quiet, OK?

0:37:020:37:04

OK, let's go.

0:37:040:37:07

We have told Fatima we need to film her in her office.

0:37:070:37:10

She has no idea what's really going on.

0:37:100:37:12

-DOORBELL RINGS

-I didn't even know I had a bell!

0:37:160:37:19

I didn't. Oh, my days.

0:37:210:37:23

Oh, my days.

0:37:240:37:26

Why's there so many people outside?

0:37:260:37:30

Why are there are so many people outside?

0:37:300:37:34

DOORBELL RINGS

0:37:340:37:35

I've got to go and get the door.

0:37:350:37:36

Why are there so many of you outside?!

0:37:420:37:44

Hi, Fatima. Come here.

0:37:460:37:48

-Now, listen...

-What?

0:37:480:37:50

Where do I know you from?

0:37:510:37:54

I couldn't possibly say!

0:37:540:37:55

I'm Aled... Aled Jones from the BBC.

0:37:550:37:58

Oh, my gosh! The little singer man!

0:37:580:38:00

Yeah, the little singer man has grown-up.

0:38:010:38:04

But, now, listen, you thought we were making a programme

0:38:040:38:07

about the London riots.

0:38:070:38:09

That's not the full story, OK?

0:38:090:38:12

I'm from a programme called Going Back, Giving Back.

0:38:120:38:15

Trevor, what do you want to say?

0:38:150:38:17

We had a lovely chat the other day and everything that you said

0:38:170:38:20

resounded so much with us as a family,

0:38:200:38:23

and me specifically.

0:38:230:38:25

Because what you do and what you give back to the community

0:38:250:38:28

through the people that come to see you,

0:38:280:38:30

we thought that we would offer you something just to try and make

0:38:300:38:32

some thing's a little bit better for you.

0:38:320:38:34

-So, you've got a letter, haven't you?

-I have a letter here.

0:38:340:38:36

-Will you read this out loud for us?

-OK.

-You have to...

0:38:360:38:39

Well, you don't have to,

0:38:390:38:41

but it would be very nice if you could read that out.

0:38:410:38:43

I am snotty nosed and everything.

0:38:430:38:45

-Oh, don't worry about that.

-No.

-And this is from you?

-Yes.

-OK.

0:38:450:38:48

"On the night of the riots, the destruction of our building

0:38:480:38:51

"meant that the community was hit by the loss

0:38:510:38:54

"of an iconic structure.

0:38:540:38:56

"You got out the next day to clear up, kids in tow,

0:38:560:38:59

"fearless and defiant. You have gone much further,

0:38:590:39:02

"not only did you initiate the food bank..."

0:39:020:39:04

I've got water in my eyes!

0:39:040:39:06

"..but you had foresight to realise that if people have come for food,

0:39:060:39:11

"there must be underlying reasons.

0:39:110:39:13

"How you find the time for Fatima herself, I just don't know,

0:39:130:39:17

"but you do. It's clear it's not easy for you personally."

0:39:170:39:21

Thank you.

0:39:210:39:22

"So, we, as the Reeves family,

0:39:220:39:25

"would like to give something back to you."

0:39:250:39:28

"We know you need some work at home,

0:39:280:39:30

"so we're offering to pay for a week's work

0:39:300:39:33

"by our decorator and handyman to help in your home."

0:39:330:39:36

Woohoo! "And also 500 credit from our store for furniture to

0:39:360:39:40

"make your home more comfortable.

0:39:400:39:43

"Finally, I would like to donate some of my time

0:39:430:39:45

"to guide your clients with their interview preparation.

0:39:450:39:48

"You are truly an inspiration to so many

0:39:480:39:51

"and we would really hope you will take

0:39:510:39:53

"and enjoy our offers with..."

0:39:530:39:55

Oh, gosh, I can't even read this.

0:39:550:39:57

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:39:570:39:58

Thank you.

0:39:580:40:00

Thank you so much.

0:40:000:40:02

Oh, wow! I am just, like, really...

0:40:020:40:05

-What does this mean to you?

-Everything.

0:40:060:40:09

Everything. These people, being here...

0:40:090:40:12

Like, she is so sneaky.

0:40:120:40:14

Thank you so much, all of you.

0:40:170:40:19

Seriously, I'm just so chuffed.

0:40:190:40:21

I'm just like...

0:40:210:40:23

I'm going to be grinning all day now.

0:40:230:40:25

Apparently this is the first time ever she's been speechless.

0:40:250:40:28

-You're right, you're correct. Yes.

-Thanks.

0:40:280:40:32

I'm really, really happy.

0:40:320:40:33

Her reaction to Aled was just brilliant.

0:40:330:40:35

It was worth all the effort.

0:40:350:40:37

You know, it was a difficult time for us

0:40:370:40:39

during those riots and then to, sort of, go through it all and to

0:40:390:40:42

find someone who's doing...

0:40:420:40:43

Giving back so much to everybody else, we're...

0:40:430:40:46

You know, we're all really happy.

0:40:460:40:47

-Do you know what...?

-We'll look after you.

-My bedroom's getting done, I'll tell you that.

0:40:470:40:51

So what people don't know, I haven't done my bedroom.

0:40:510:40:53

I have had every excuse not to do my bedroom

0:40:530:40:56

because I started a new project, and I've just got a mattress.

0:40:560:41:00

And my clothes are just...

0:41:000:41:01

So, yeah, I'm going to do my bedroom.

0:41:010:41:03

-Good! Good.

-I'm going to do my bedroom.

0:41:030:41:06

-Thank you so much.

-You're welcome. You're more than welcome.

0:41:060:41:09

I really want a big hug, Trevor. Thank you so much.

0:41:090:41:11

Thank you. And then...

0:41:110:41:13

-He's a celebrity.

-Come on!

0:41:130:41:14

That's better than a council award, you know?

0:41:140:41:17

That's, like... That's really important

0:41:170:41:19

because he's our neighbour and the fact that he's OK with it,

0:41:190:41:23

and he wants to help them as well in his own way.

0:41:230:41:25

She was more excited about the opportunity that Trevor's

0:41:270:41:30

given for the mentoring of the people that she's working with.

0:41:300:41:33

But it's really nice that she's got something for herself as well.

0:41:330:41:36

It was excellent. I think she'll really enjoy this,

0:41:360:41:39

and she'll benefit from it and it's good that

0:41:390:41:41

she's getting back something from the community,

0:41:410:41:44

as she's always putting so much in.

0:41:440:41:46

We're going to love you and leave you.

0:41:460:41:48

So you linger with your friends who have been so sneaky.

0:41:480:41:51

-And you deserve it.

-Thank you.

0:41:510:41:53

-Keep doing what you're doing.

-Thank you very much.

0:41:530:41:55

-Come on, Trevor, let's go.

-All right, thank you!

0:41:550:41:59

Sometimes you just think people just don't notice it, you know,

0:42:000:42:03

so this is just excellent.

0:42:030:42:04

This is really... It's like a big kick to keep on doing

0:42:040:42:07

what we're doing and improving what we're doing.

0:42:070:42:11

And dotting our Is and crossing our Ts,

0:42:110:42:13

because it means something to the people

0:42:130:42:15

that we're doing it for, if anything,

0:42:150:42:17

so, yeah, I'm really, really chuffed.

0:42:170:42:19

Well, this really has been an extraordinary journey

0:42:220:42:25

from that devastating night of rioting back in 2011

0:42:250:42:28

when Trevor saw his livelihood burned to the ground,

0:42:280:42:31

to venturing into Trevor's family's hidden past, to now,

0:42:310:42:35

where he's been motivated to give something back.

0:42:350:42:38

And no-one really deserves it more than Fatima.

0:42:380:42:40

She's done so much for the people of Croydon

0:42:400:42:43

and now someone's done something nice for her.

0:42:430:42:46

Wonderful!

0:42:460:42:48

Aled Jones travels back to August 2011, to London in the middle of the riots. He meets Trevor Reeves, one of the owners of a 150-year-old furniture shop that was destroyed. Trevor relives the terrible night, describing how he witnessed his family's livelihood burn down in front of him. They then go on a journey where Trevor learns an incredible secret about his great-great-grandfather who founded the store. Remembering the night and the support he received from the local community is spurring Trevor to want to give back.

He is introduced to Fatima Koroma, a remarkable woman who has done so much to help the people of Croydon. After the riots she was out sweeping the streets, helping with the clean-up, and has gone on to run a food bank providing food for people most in need. Trevor meets her and discovers how she always puts the community and others first, and he is keen to help.