Peter Hayward

I was honoured when Dan and Efrem asked me to be a member of the "StrongMen" team.

 In 2018 I retired after 30 years in the Prison Service, prior to this I had spent 6 years in the military. Just before retiring I took the decision to train to become a therapist. I did this because after these 36 years I realised that people who work in these professions find it very difficult to talk about how they feel and the experiences they’ve had, and I found this particularly true for men in general.

In 2012 I was diagnosed with PTSD and subsequently undertook a course of therapy. I found this to be really helpful and in hindsight wish I had accessed these services earlier. This fuelled my ambition to become a therapist.

In 2014 my father in law, Spencer was killed in a road traffic accident on the M1. Someone had attempted to take their own life by jumping from one of the bridges over the motorway. Spencer, being an ex-policeman, saw the incident and immediately pulled onto the hard shoulder and started organising cars that had stopped to block the motorway. Once he considered it was safe to do so he made for the person and commenced CPR on them. An impatient motorist not realising why the traffic had come to a standstill wove their way through the parked cars and subsequently ran over both Spencer and the person who had jumped, killing both of them. The sentence they received for this was negligible and my family was left to pick up the pieces of this tragic death. Spencer received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his action that day for which we were truly proud, but this did little to lift the sense of bereavement and loss.

In many ways to ‘hide’ from what I was feeling, I immersed myself during both my time in the military and in the Prison Service in physical training completing a number of Ironman Triathlons. My hobby at the moment is kettlebells and I coach both hardstyle and sport kettlebells at a local Crossfit Box and I have also just qualified as a Yoga teacher. Even now, I find that if I can’t do any physical training for what ever reason it really affects my mood and outlook but that is a work in progress.

Currently I am undertaking post graduate training in Trauma Therapy, an area that I specifically want to specialise in.

I think ‘StrongMen’ is a fantastic and essential charity. The ethos it promotes of brotherhood and companionship and support is second to none and I feel extremely proud and privileged to be a part of it.

Peter Hayward

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