CROYDON RIOTS: Torch relay response shows love for Croydon
8:00am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in Riots: One year on
One of the heroes of last year’s riots said the torch relay through Croydon showed how much the town has moved on.
Gillian Towler, 61, helps run the Addington Community Centre, New Addington, with her husband Derek Towler.
The pair, who have been involved with the centre for 30 years, opened up the centre during last year’s riots to help those who couldn’t go home that night.
As a thank-you for their help, Mr and Mrs Towler were invited to go to the Olympic opening ceremony by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Mrs Towler said: "We didn’t get as badly affected as central Croydon but I definitely think that everyone has pulled together since.
"We were very very lucky in our area. We only gave people cups of tea, we didn’t do an awful lot but it was a nice surprise to have that awarded to us.
She said: "The torch relay showed how much Croydon has moved forward. It was an amazing atmosphere with no trouble at all. I do think as a community everyone has been brought together.
"The opening ceremony was one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen, the volunteers there deserve a medal.
"When they told us we were invited I thought it was a wind up, those sort of things just don’t happen to us. I felt very honoured."