Banbury spider-lover wants others to face a fear for BHF

Carl Portman
Carl Portman

A Banbury man whose love of spiders was helped by overcoming a different fear is fronting a British Heart Foundation campaign.

Carl Portman, 54, is supporting the charity’s ‘face a fear’ campaign after overcoming his worry of having a device fitted to monitor his heart.

Carl Portman with a tarantula in Belize NNL-180625-153020001

Carl Portman with a tarantula in Belize NNL-180625-153020001

“I didn’t want any foreign object inside my body, and even the fear of sudden death couldn’t change my mind. But Tim Betts, my brilliant cardiologist, finally managed to convince me. It was his words, ‘You enjoy life so much, why not extend it?’, I thought that was a really logical way of looking at it,” he said.

Carl has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which can correct a life-threatening heart rhythm caused by arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

Carl has since travelled the world to see spiders in their natural habitat, something he loves to do.

“I have done all this, all my hopes and dreams, and been able to live my life to the full because of my ICD. I am not afraid to die but I am afraid not to live,” he said.

“I know that the majority of people are scared of spiders, and I used to be one of them, but they really are the most incredible creatures.

“I’m encouraging people to face their fears this July, whether that is spiders or something completely different, and get sponsored to do so to support the BHF’s lifesaving research.”

By conquering a phobia by the end of July, challengers will help fund ground-breaking research into heart and circulatory diseases.

Find out more about the challenge at