Wales

Widow's volcano climb to thank RAF charity after fatal fire

Family photo Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Eirlys Greenough's husband Andrew, son Evan, and daughter Nia, all died in a fire in 2007

A woman whose husband and two children died in a house fire 12 years ago is set to climb three volcanoes in a bid to raise money for a charity which helped her following the tragedy.

Eirlys Greenough was living at an RAF base in Cyprus in March 2007 and was on a night out when the blaze started.

Her husband Andrew, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, son Evan, five, and daughter Nia, two, all died.

The RAF Benevolent Fund gave financial assistance in the immediate aftermath.

"They were one of the first organisations to make a grant," said 47-year-old Mrs Greenough, who is originally from Merthyr Tydfil, but now lives in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Image copyright Eirlys Greenough
Image caption Eirlys Greenough (right) and her sister Bethan Jones will do the trek together

"I did not expect that. I remember feeling overwhelmed by getting it. There was no fuss, they were just there," she said.

"I lost everything in the house fire. I had to leave Cyprus, I had to leave my job and leave my friends."

The Trek for Troops begins in Italy on Monday and involves climbing Mount Vesuvius, Mount Stromboli and Mount Etna.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stromboli is a volcanic island off the coast of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea

Over five days, Mrs Greenough along with her sister Bethan Jones - who is celebrating her 50th birthday - will climb a total of 3,400m (11,154ft).

"I have climbed Mount Stromboli before and it was an incredible experience so I guess that gave me a taste for volcanoes," she said, ahead of the self-funded trek.

"I've done some walking with my dog to prepare and I'm planning to wear lots of layers - I've heard Mount Etna has had snow.

"I know it's going to be a challenge but the good thing about doing it for charity is it keeps you going when things get tough. And, of course, my family will be in my thoughts."

Charlotte Barmby, RAF Benevolent Fund regional fundraiser, said Mrs Greenough's determination to give something back to the fund was "truly inspirational".

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