SHE’S already number one to husband David - but Sheffield military wife Sarah Hendry is hoping to top the music charts on Christmas Day tomorrow.
The mum-of-two from Hillsborough is one of 100 women in the Military Wives Choir whose song based on letters to their partners serving in Afghanistan is on course to beat X Factor band Little Mix to be crowned festive number one.
The single, Wherever You Are, is the fastest-selling for six years and X Factor mogul Simon Cowell has already conceded defeat.
But the success of the choir, which was formed in March by conductor Gareth Malone for a BBC2 television series, has stunned Sarah, whose first performance with the choir was only this spring at the market in Chivenor, Devon, where she lives on the nearby base.
Sarah, aged 30, whose husband is a Corporal in the Royal Marines, said she first got involved after seeing a leaflet at the base in March, one of two military sites from where Gareth recruited the wives for the single.
She said: “My husband, who is in Commando Logistics, had just gone out on his third tour in Afghanistan, where he was working on the supply convoys, and I decided to give it a go for the entertainment factor.
“Our base had been chosen because we have a variety of forces here.
“There was no audition - who wanted to take part could join in. I went along and five weeks later we were performing in the market. Gareth conducted rehearsals at our base and also worked with wives based at 42 Commando in Plymouth. Both groups came together for the first time for a performance at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in August.”
Since then Sarah, who is deputy manager of the nursery on her base and mum to Callum, 11, and Owen, nine, said life has just got busier.
She said: “There was the performance at the Albert Hall, then we were invited to Downing Street, and earlier this week we performed at The Sun’s Military Awards.
“Last weekend I was visiting family and friends in Hillsborough, where both David and I are from.
“We are hoping to take it easy over Christmas but we’ll be in the Officers’ Mess on Christmas Day watching television to see if we have made number one.”
Sarah, whose husband has returned safely, added: “I just can’t believe all this is happening. I only wanted to have a bit of fun while my husband was away!”
Proceeds from the single are going to the Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help, both of which support forces and their families.