A police officer seriously injured fighting off the London Bridge attackers hopes to return to work next month as he revealed he is able to walk by himself again.
One year on from the atrocity, which left eight innocent people dead and saw the terror trio killed by police on a busy Saturday night in central London, Wayne Marques thanked the public for their “inspiring” support.
The British Transport Police (BTP) officer, 39, told last year how he thought in the moments after being injured that he would die, having been stabbed multiple times, including in the head, leg and hand.
In the year since the June 3 attack he said he had made “significant progress” and expressed his eagerness to get back to work in July, but admitted he still has a way to go in his recovery.
PC Marques was hailed a hero after fighting off terrorists Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30 and Youssef Zaghba, 22, with just his baton, having been temporarily blinded in one eye as they lunged at him with their knives.
The officer, who is still undergoing rehab, said: “I’ve made significant progress obviously since that night. I’m much more independent, much more able, I’m standing, I’m walking, I’m talking, I’m able to socialise again, see family and friends.”
He conceded that his family still have concerns about his return to work but said: “It’s a job that I enjoy. It’s who I am, to be honest.”
He had to undergo a series of operations and spent almost three weeks in hospital following the attack, and said at times when he was bed-bound it was messages of support from the public, oftentimes complete strangers, that encouraged him.
“You go through these stages where you’re stuck in a bed and you’ve got this time to keep thinking about things,” he said in a video interview released by BTP.
“Then you get these messages from people who have just heard about you. You’ve never met them and you never will, in most cases. But just genuine, heartfelt, caring messages. It wasn’t just written for the sake of writing, people felt the need to send me something or write me something.
“It makes a difference. To me anyway. I think that it showed what it meant to a lot of people.”
Joking that he had not had to buy a pint since telling his remarkable story last year, he added: “The messages have just been awesome. I can only say thank you very much. It was both needed and appreciated.”
The long winter posed an unexpected challenge for the officer, he said, reminding him of his limits.
“Things like cold weather like that never really affected me before but now obviously since that night, things do affect me but you don’t know they affect you until it happens.
“So, I’m still learning and I’m still working hard. So I have my plans, I have my intentions but I sort of have to be realistic about it.”
Pc Marques, who was born in Birmingham but lives in south London, said he had read as many of the public’s messages to him as possible, describing the response as overwhelming.
He said: “The public have, they’ve been inspiring, you can’t deny the response the public had towards me and towards the job, to police officers since that tragedy last year.
“(It was) inspiring, it was overwhelming, it was encouraging.”