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. Source: The Tablet.
On June 3, 2017, while cycling to a skate park to meet friends, Ignacio Echeverría saw two men attacking a police officer and a woman. Dismounting his bicycle, he grabbed his skateboard and ran towards the men. He struck one with his skateboard.
Both men were wielding 12-inch knives in Borough Market. Earlier the men had driven a van into a crowd.
Mr Echeverría distracted one attacker, thus allowing several members of the public to escape to safety.
He then saw the second man attacking a policeman. He turned towards him but was stabbed twice in the back by two other men. He died of his wounds.
A financial crimes analyst for HSBC in London, Mr 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 Mr Echeverría’s death, Pope Francis announced a fourth possible way to attain sainthood, Oblatio Vitae, or the offering of one’s life for another.
This prompted the auxiliary bishop of Madrid, Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, to approach the Echeverría family to inquire whether they would like Ignacio to be considered as a candidate for sainthood.
His father, Joaquín Echeverría, said: “I would like Ignacio’s death to be useful. I trust he is already in heaven but if his death helps other people who ask for his intercession, what he did was worthwhile.”
Mr Echeverría announced on Twitter that the canonisation process had opened in Madrid.
London Bridge attack ‘skateboard hero’ is on path to sainthood (By Bess Twiston Davies, The Tablet)