A MAN with a severe fear of heights will appear in an upcoming television show which tackles phobias head on.
Peter Naylor, 51, of Shoreham Beach, Shoreham, joined nine other acrophobics for three intensive days of filming in London for Sky One’s Fright Club, last October.
I don’t think it’s cured it completely but what it’s done is it’s given me the tools and advice to attempt things.Peter Naylor
Together, they were given exposure therapy under the supervision of two clinical psychiatrists. Challenges included scaling scaffolding, being lifted in a cherry picker and riding in a cable car across the Thames.
Peter, a customer service employee for Legal and General, said: “I was very reluctant when I arrived and they described what the challenges were. If you have got a genuine fear, it’s quite unnerving. It was taking me out of my comfort zone.”
It was at the top of the Blackpool Tower, aged eight, when Peter first discovered his fear of heights.
While his dad and two brothers were happy to peer over the edge, Peter and his mum were rooted to the spot with fear.
He said: “I just wanted to get down and since then I have had this fear of heights. I’m terrified of flying as well. I have to force myself to get on.”
In 2013, Peter’s mum, Elizabeth, suffered a major stroke while he was visiting her one Sunday afternoon. First-aider Peter recognised the signs and called an ambulance straight away but Elizabeth died two days later.
Peter said: “I was very close to my mum. She was my best friend as well. I found it very traumatic.”
Following his mum’s death, Peter decided that he wanted to do something for charity in her memory as well as to raise awareness of strokes.
Initially, Peter wanted to do an abseil but his fear of heights got in the way. It was at this point that he saw an advert for Fright Club in the Metro and decided to apply to try to overcome his fear.
On May 31, Peter will return to the scene of his final challenge on the show– The Orbit, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to do an abseil in aid of the Stroke Association. Fellow participants from the show will be there to cheer him on.
Peter said: “I think the exposure therapy does work. I don’t think it’s cured it completely but what it’s done is it’s given me the tools and advice to attempt things. I was a bit concerned at first of people seeing me vulnerable but now I’m not bothered.”
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/peter-naylor6