AN INTREPID group of military wives have successfully climbed the highest volcano in the world, Chile’s 6,893m Ojos del Salado.

Members of the Forces Wives Challenge (FWC), which was featured in Spring’s Army&You and seeks to unite spouses through adventure, completed the lofty challenge despite most of them never having owned a pair of walking boots before they began training for this expedition last year.

FWC was set up by former Army officer Heather Sharp (39) who wanted to ensure the spouses of those who serve in the military also get to experience a sense of belonging that being in the Armed Forces brings.

On reaching the summit, Heather said: “I can speak on behalf of everyone that this was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Every step above 6,500m felt utterly exhausting but we were determined to fly the FWC flag.

“I was told by so many people that it was too ambitious, but hopefully we’ve proved that with determination, dedication and a team of badass ladies you really can achieve anything.”

This inaugural expedition is raising money for The Royal British Legion, which provides lifelong support to the Armed Forces community – including partners and their family members.

Army wife Etta (43) has spent the last 24 years supporting her husband Paul around the world with his Army career, including numerous operational deployments to Northern Ireland Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

She said that FWC gave her a chance to conquer the volcano and achieve her own sense of adventure, adding: “I am overwhelmed by the gifts it has given me. The hardships, the heartaches, the exhilaration and joy, the sights, the experiences, the journey as a whole. The overwhelming mixture of relief and euphoria, the pain and the tears we cried. We climbed mountains and it was amazing.”

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