WelCom February 2023
A 39-year-old Spaniard known as the ‘skateboard hero’ for his acts of valour during the 2017 London Bridge attack is on the path to sainthood.
On 3 June 2017, Ignacio Echeverría ran towards terrorists who were wielding 12-inch knives in Borough Market. Earlier they had driven into the crowds in a van.
While cycling to a skate park to meet friends, Echeverría had observed a man attacking a police officer and subsequently, a woman. Dismounting his bicycle, he grabbed his skateboard, dashing towards the terrorists. He struck one with his skateboard. This distracted the attacker, allowing several members of the public to escape to safety.
Echeverría then saw a second terrorist assailing a policeman. He turned towards him, but was stabbed twice in the back by two other terrorists. He died of his wounds.
Joaquín Echeverría, his father, described Ignacio as ‘an ordinary person who always stood up for what he believed in’.
A financial crimes analyst for HSBC in London, Echeverría was posthumously awarded the George Medal by the Queen and Spain’s Order of Civil Merit. Skate parks in Alicante and Madrid now bear his name while a musical titled Skate Hero chronicles the last 24 hours of his life.
In July 2017, a month after Echeverría’s death, Pope Francis announced a fourth possible way to attain sainthood, Oblatio Vitae, or the offering of one’s life for another.
In an apostolic letter announcing the move, the Pope said: ‘The heroic offering of life, suggested and sustained by charity, expresses a true, complete and exemplary imitation of Christ.’
This prompted the auxiliary bishop of Madrid, Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, to approach the Echeverría family to enquire whether they would like Ignacio to be considered as a candidate for sainthood.
Source: The Tablet UK