SHE’S terrified of heights and wearing a swimsuit on national TV – but that won’t stop Penny Mordaunt starring in Splash! for a worthy cause.
As we revealed yesterday, the Portsmouth North MP will appear on the ITV diving programme on Saturday, January 18.
She’s taking the plunge in a bid to help The Hilsea Lido Pool for the People in its efforts to reopen Hilsea Lido.
‘I’m absolutely terrified,’ Ms Mordaunt told The News. ‘I’m terrified about the height, about injuring myself and I’m terrified about wearing a bathing costume on national TV.
‘But in my panicked moments I think of the ladies from the lido and they are my inspiration for pushing on.’
Ms Mordaunt will give the trust her £10,000 appearance fee so it can install new diving boards.
It’s hoped the attraction –which was taken over by the trust from Portsmouth City Council in 2011 – will reopen for a limited period this summer.
Helen Downing-Emms, vice-chairwoman of the trust, said: ‘What Penny is doing will help us massively.
‘A lot of community groups have been successful in getting their lidos back.
‘Anyone who has had anything to do with a swimming pool or lido know what an asset they are to their birthplace.
‘This will be an opportunity for people to know that Portsmouth is close to having its lido back and that’s fantastic for us.’
The show, which began last Saturday, features five contestants each week who perform a dive in front of a live audience at an Olympic-sized swimming pool from boards at different heights.
Their performance is rated by a panel of judges and depending on how well they score and do in a public vote determines whether they reach the finals.
Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay are the show’s presenters and Tom Daley, who won a bronze medal for diving at the 2012 Olympics, is the contestants’ mentor.
Ms Mordaunt said she was ready for negative comments ‘trolls’ may make about her on social media websites like Twitter.
‘People make all kinds of comments about me now,’ she said.
‘I feel sorry for those people.
‘I’m 40 years old. I am Royal Navy fit and I am doing something which is a tremendous personal development experience and I think the majority of people in Portsmouth will get behind me.
‘There may be some political opponents who will try and make mischief but if they don’t like the show, they can switch off.’
Ms Mordaunt is also supporting The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and Give Us Time, and is welcoming donations.
The show airs from 7.20pm.