Woodbridge: Abseiling down London’s famous Shard is all in a day’s work for former Suffolk school boy
WORKING inside the tallest building in Europe promises good views, business suits and a notable address – but what if you are on the outside dangling to a harness?
Guy Hayhow, a former Woodbridge School student, is an industrial abseiler and has been working on The Shard in London since last summer.
From a viewpoint that few will ever visit, the 28-year-old has watched Apache helicopters flying beneath him, witnessed dramatic police car chases and enjoyed peregrine falcons hovering alongside as he toils away.
My Hayhow, who is originally from Woodbridge but now lives in London, said: “I never thought I’d be doing this job, not in my wildest dreams.
“In fact, I had no idea it even existed. I was a climbing instructor for six months when my instructor friend said a lot of climbers do this [industrial abseiling] and pointed me in the direction of a course, but I never thought I’d be doing it for this long.”
Mr Hayhow became a qualified rope access technician after completing his degree in outdoor leadership and has now been working as an industrial abseiler for five years.
Although he accounts for the perceived dangers when setting up before a job and never works in high winds or storms, he acknowledges that there are “unforeseen” pitfalls.
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“Like when the weather changes and the wind picks up,” he said. “But we do our best to avoid accidents.
“After the window cleaner’s basket flipped on The Shard on Monday, I worked with a couple of guys to get him down – he was above 96 floors.
“I used to be blas� when people asked if I got scared, but you do.
“It’s just how you manage that fear that matters – you take a deep breath and just crack on with the job.”
My Hayhow’s career has given him privileged access to some of the most recognised yet inaccessible locations in London.
He fitted the blue lights on the top of Heron Tower in Bishopsgate and placed bird-deterring spikes on the roof of the National Gallery.
However, sometimes the experience does not compensate for the distinct business attire.
“Around 90% of the time being in a harness is very uncomfortable,” he said. “It can be cold and wet but then in the summer it’s sweaty and itchy.
“However, it’s a beautiful job, I’m in the middle of London and there are peregrines whizzing past me. It’s a job with the best view in London.”