THE London Stock Exchange was, for one of the first times in history, closed by a person with a learning disability last week.
Oliver Thomason, Sports Inclusion Assistant for national social care charity Community Integrated Care, led today’s historic market closing ceremony at the London Stock Exchange Headquarters, on behalf of the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
Marking one year until the tournament’s Men’s and Women’s finals event, Oliver was invited as an honorary VIP guest to close the market and end the day’s trading at 4:30pm.
Surrounded by 500 high-definition LED screens, special guests of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, joined Oliver in the countdown.
Since beginning his role as the Official Inclusion Ambassador for the Rugby League World Cup, Oliver has been championing disability inclusion on a global scale. He has been key in creating opportunities for more than 300 people who have learning disabilities through the charity’s ground-breaking volunteering partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
The partnership was recently awarded the prestigious ‘Best Sports Community Scheme’ accolade at this year’s Sports Business Awards for providing life-changing opportunities to people with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health concerns, through personal development projects inspired by the World Cup.
The London Stock Exchange was founded in 1801. Traditionally, a bell was rung to open and close each day’s trading. Since 2011, an installation at the London Stock Exchange replaced this tradition and a market closing ceremony takes place at the end of each day’s trading.
Often saved for dignitaries, this prestigious opportunity with the London Stock Exchange recognises Oliver’s inspirational work in changing the lives of thousands of people with disabilities.
Speaking about his moment, Oliver said:
“I can’t believe I was presented with this opportunity to end the day’s trading at the London Stock Exchange. I’ve been excited about this for a few weeks, as I know how prestigious this honour is.
“I’m thankful that my hard work in championing inclusion for people with learning disabilities is being recognised. I hope that this can inspire others to push forward with their goals and dreams, as you never know what amazing things you can achieve.”
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said:
“We are incredibly proud of Oliver for another fantastic achievement and everything that he has accomplished so far in his role as Sports Inclusion Assistant at Community Integrated Care.
“Oliver being chosen as the representative of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 is just another example of how he is challenging prejudices, breaking down barriers and showcasing the remarkable achievements of people with learning disabilities on a global scale.”