Filipina nurse speaks of ‘surreal’ moment she was honoured for terror role

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Filipina nurse receives OBE
Joy Ongcachuy receives her OBE from the Prince of Wales. The nurse was one of the emergency responders who rushed to the scene of the London Bridge terror attack in 2017.

The Filipina nurse awarded an order of chivalry by Prince Charles for her role in the London Bridge terror attacks has spoken of her pride.

Joy Ongcachuy, who works at the Royal London Hospital, is now an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or OBE.

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Speaking today (Thursday, July 18) the UK’s Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce congratulated Joy for the honour, which was announced in January.

“Many congratulations Joy. It was an enormous pleasure to meet you and your family earlier this year,” he said.

Joy has described how “surreal” it felt to meet the heir to the British throne. 

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“I cannot express enough how grateful I am,” she said. 

Joy, who was born in Talisayan town, Misamis Oriental, remembered what it felt like to come face to face with Prince Charles.

“He told me before we shook hands, ‘You did a great job during the incident. Congratulations’,” she said. 

Joy was part of the staff that attended to those who were injured in a terrorist attack in June 2017, an assault that included a vehicle being rammed into pedestrians and a knife attack. Joy was recognised alongside 42 other emergency responders.

Describing the night of the attack, Joy said: “I was working the night shift that night and I heard the anaesthetist’s bleep go off. We already had a really sick patient in one of our theatres, so I had to get our other theatres ready and pull a team of nurses, allied health professionals and operating department practitioners together.

“We opened an additional six theatres that night and everyone I called dropped everything they were doing to come to the aid of the patients. No one panicked; everyone was calm and so supportive.”

The Filipina nurse has worked at The Royal London Hospital since 2002 as a scrub nurse. She was promoted as robotic lead nurse in 2017.

The OBE is an order of chivalry bestowed upon citizens for contributions to society, as well as for contributions to the arts and sciences, and other good deeds. 

Also decorated this year were British divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, who were the first to reach the 12 boys and their coach trapped in a Thai cave complex for 18 days.

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