South East Wales

Plaque for first Welsh person to swim English Channel

Photo of Jenny James
Image caption Jenny James was a pioneer of women's swimming

A blue plaque honouring the first Welsh person to swim the English Channel has been unveiled at the National Lido of Wales.

Jenny James, from Pontypridd, was 24 when she swam from Calais to Dover in August 1951 in 13 hours and 55 minutes.

She died in 2014 aged 87 at a care home in Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Ms James learned to swim at the original lido in Pontypridd at a young age. She went on to save more than 100 lives as a lifeguard.

Image copyright Rhondda Cynon Taf Council
Image caption The plaque in memory and honour of Ms James was unveiled in the presence of family members and friends
Image copyright Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Jenny's original swimsuit and goggles, as worn during her English Channel swim in 1951, were on display at the ceremony.

Image copyright Samantha Davies
Image caption Ms James was given free entrance for life to any swimming pool in Wales
Image copyright Samantha Davies
Image caption Ms James after her epic channel swim

Ms James was given a huge reception by the people of Pontypridd when she returned from her channel swim.

Her niece, Samantha Davies said "hundreds and hundreds" of people welcomed her back.

Ms James was given the freedom of Pontypridd and free entrance for life to any swimming pool in Wales.

Image copyright Samantha Davies

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