A brand new initiative has been launched, offering a support network to wives, fiancées and cohabiting partners of serving or veteran British Armed Forces personnel.
The movement is called the Forces Wives Challenge (FWC), and the main aim is to “acknowledge the community of Forces Wives and partners as a group of resilient and dynamic women with careers, skill-sets and experiences of their own, that can be harnessed towards a common goal.
"As a team, working together to overcome a challenge, it will create purpose, teamwork, drive, ambition, strength and above all, support.”
"Together we can achieve anything."
This has all been the brainchild of Heather Sharp, who has experienced both sides of the coin, after herself serving ten years as an officer in the British Army.
The struggles of being part of a dual-serving couple while trying to raise a young family led Heather to make the difficult decision to leave the Army. She said:
“I’m embarrassed to say I had a preconceived stereotypical idea of what life would be like living on a married quarters patch, and I wondered if I would have anything in common or make friends.”
“Very quickly every preconceived idea was shattered, and on posting after posting I found a diverse, dynamic, and resilient group of women who had all made incredible sacrifices to support their partners’ careers in the Armed Forces.”
This got Heather thinking about what could be achieved if these groups of women worked together, and so the Forces Wives Challenge was born.
“By harnessing the skills and talents of this dynamic and resilient community to overcome an ambitious challenge, it will strengthen us as a team - a team with purpose which celebrates our drive, ambition, and, above all, support for each other.”
An ambitious challenge is exactly what the team set themselves for their flagship expedition because right now the ladies are ascending Ojos del Salado in Chile.
As if climbing the world’s highest volcano wasn’t challenge enough, the team have also set themselves a second target – to raise £10,000 for The Royal British Legion (RBL).
The RBL provides lifelong support to the Armed Forces Community, including partners and their family members, and it’s for this precise reason they are the FWC’s chosen charity - because of the ways in which The Legion helps to build community connections.
So, to summarise: this team of extraordinary women - with no previous high-altitude mountaineering experience between them – are currently bossing their way 6893m up the highest volcano in the world, while raising thousands of pounds for one of the most hardworking charities in the Forces community.
Is it fate that they are aiming to summit the peak on International Women’s Day? We’ll leave that to you to decide…