Christmas for Holly was spent arming Apache helicopters in Afghanistan
WHILE most of us were enjoying time off over Christmas and New Year, this brave woman was working 24-hour shifts in Afghanistan.
Holly Ferneyhough, 24, of Grimsby, is currently completing her second tour of duty as part of the ground crew with 662 Squadron Army Air Corps.
The former Grimsby Institute student works with Apache attack helicopters in Camp Bastion, the main support base for British troops in Afghanistan.
She ensures that the helicopters are ready to fly whenever they are needed to escort medical evacuations and support soldiers on operations.
She said: "I came out to Camp Bastion in September and I worked during both Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
"I missed my family, but I was surrounded by work colleagues and friends and we had secret Santa on Christmas Day and then a quiz on New Year's Eve.
"I will celebrate again with my family when I get home at the end of January.
"I'm looking forward to shopping in Freshney Place and having a girly night out in Cleethorpes."
During each 24-hour shift, Holly works as part of a team of six, preparing the helicopters for take-off and then refuelling them when they return.
She also helps to replace the ammunition, which includes 30mm canon rounds, rockets and Hellfire missiles.
The former Hereford School pupil said the difference between her role now and her last tour of Afghanistan in 2010 is evident.
"The Apaches fire less ammunition now, which is a good sign that the security of Helmand has improved," she said.
"When the troops are out, the Apaches give security and reassurance to them and it's good to know that I am part of that."
During this tour of duty, Holly has been involved in numerous charity events, including 5km runs for The Poppy Run and Children's Heart Unit Fund, both of which she has done on her rest time between shifts.
She was inspired to join the Army when she was 11 by her ex-serviceman uncle who introduced her to an assault course.
She enrolled when she was 17 with the support of her mum and dad, Tina, 48, and Andy Bowles, 46.
She now hopes to undertake officer training and be commissioned into the Army Air Corps in the future.
She added: "I've loved the challenges, experiences and travel since I've been in the Army. I've also enjoyed meeting new people."