Eileen Fenton celebrates 70th anniversary of becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel

This weekend will mark the 70th anniversary of Eileen Fenton becoming the first women to swim the English Channel.

What makes the then 21 year old's achievement even more remarkable is she completed the last part of the race one handed after picking up a shoulder injury.

Eileen injured her shoulder a mile of the finish Credit: Editorial

In a race where less than half of the 24 swimmers finished, Eileen knew just reaching English shores would be a monumental task. 

9 nine hours In she was the overall race leader before suffering a shoulder injury a mile from the coast of Dover. 

It took another 6 hours before an exhausted Eileen finished the race as she became the first woman to cross the channel. 

15,000 people welcomed Eileen back in her home town of Dewsbury Credit: Editorial

15,000 people welcomed the teacher back in her home town of Dewsbury where she received a cheque of a thousand pounds and tape of the race. 

In the years after Eileen coached swimmers in her spare time as she trained scores of girls who went onto compete in the commonwealth and Empire games.

And it was those who she taught that wrote letters to Buckingham Palace recommending her for an MBE which she duly received last year. 

Eileen received an MBE last year Credit: PA