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Parents accept royal honour for ‘skateboard hero’ who fought terrorists

Parents accept royal honour for ‘skateboard hero’ who fought terrorists

Thursday 11 October 2018

Parents accept royal honour for ‘skateboard hero’ who fought terrorists

Ignacio Echeverria was posthumously awarded The George Medal for bravery.

The father of a hero honoured for his actions at the London Bridge terror attack has said he is “sorry” that his son cannot collect the medal himself.

Ignacio Echeverria, who was killed as he tried to help a woman being attacked, was among those to receive honours at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

He was posthumously awarded The George Medal for “confronting armed terrorists in order to protect others at London Bridge”.

Ignacia Echeverria
Ignacio Echeverria tried to stop the knife-wielding terrorists with only his skateboard (Met Police/PA)

Mr Echeverria, a 39-year-old banker, was among eight people killed and nearly 50 injured as terrorists mowed people down with a car and went on a stabbing rampage before they were shot dead by police on June 3 2017.

He became known in the media as a ‘skateboard hero’ as he tried to fight off the attackers using his skateboard.

Joaquin Echeverria Alonso, who received the honour on behalf of his son, said the Queen asked him about his bravery on the night of the attack – particularly that he had tried to use his skateboard to fight off the terrorists.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
The couple spoke to the Queen through a translator (Yui Mok/PA)

Through a translator Mr Alonso, who had flown to London from Madrid, said the day was a “special moment but very emotional” for him and his wife Maria Miralles De Imperial Hornedo.

He said: “To recognise the courage of my son, he will be remembered. He was a generous man and he helped when it was necessary.”

Among the honours list were three police officers who say they acted “instinctively” during the London Bridge attack.

Pc Wayne Marques, who was stabbed repeatedly as he fought off terrorists on June 3 last year, said the award was “an amazing honour”.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Pc Wayne Marques receives The George Medal (Yui Mok/PA)

He said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to make my friends, family and colleagues proud.”

Pc Marques, from the British Transport Police, was awarded The George Medal “for great courage”.

He said: “You can do nothing but appreciate the acknowledgement that the Queen, the royal family and the British public have given us.

“For me nothing was done for a medal, we did what we needed to do at the time.”

Also awarded The George Medal was Pc Charlie Guenigault of the Metropolitan Police, who was off duty at the time of the attack.

He said: “[The Queen] was saying about me being off duty and asked why I made the decision, and I said I’m not really sure, it just came to me at the time.

“You don’t do what we did intending to end up in Buckingham Palace, for all of us we did it pretty instinctively.”

Speaking about their nerves ahead of the day, Pc Guenigault said: “What’s the worst that can go wrong that hasn’t already happened?

“My parents and grandparents are here and for them it’s nice.”

Pc Guenigault, who was enjoying a night with friends following a shift on June 3, ran towards attackers and received serious injuries to his head, back and stomach.

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