Family seeks canonisation of London attack 'skateboard hero'

·2-min read

Five years after the London Bridge attack that left eight dead, the family of a Spaniard who died defending a woman with his skateboard are seeking his canonisation, his father told AFP Friday.

Ignacio Echeverria, a 39-year-old financial expert from Madrid, was at the scene on June 3, 2017 when three men rammed passers-by in a van before going on a stabbing spree in the nearby Borough Market area.

He rushed to help a woman who was being attacked, hitting the assailant with his skateboard but was himself fatally stabbed. Hailing his bravery, the British press named him "the skateboard hero".

Speaking to AFP by phone, his father Joaquin Echeverria said the family was hoping to have him recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church.

The family was gathering all the information about his case which would be presented to the Church so it could examine whether "to proceed with his possible canonisation", he said.

The idea was first raised by Madrid's auxiliary bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino after holding a mass to mark the first anniversary of Echeverria's death, pointing to the Church's new stance on canonisation for someone who "voluntarily offers" their life for another.

Although his father knows the process may be very long and that they will also need to show that his son performed a miracle, he believes there's "a chance they will consider canonising him" because of the "generosity he showed in death" and his "exemplary life".

He was "a devout person" who actively participated in the Catholic community, made donations and "used to give Catholic education classes at a parish" in London, he said.

"It makes us happy to think that Ignacio's death made an impact and served some purpose," he said.

In Spain, Ignacio Echeverria's bravery has been recognised in several ways with the late banker posthumously awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for "extraordinary services" and several skate parks in Madrid named after him.

And there has even been a "Skate Hero" musical written in his honour that documents the last 24 hours of his life before the attacks.

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