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One for the archives

UKG mark Channel swimmer’s 90th birthday with special handmade card


A SPECIALLY-created UK Greetings birthday card is going into the Dewsbury town archives in honour of local celebrity Eileen Fenton, one of the first female Channel swimmers.

Eileen celebrated her 90th birthday last week in front of the BBC Look North cameras and, on behalf of the people of Dewsbury, presenter Harry Gration is pictured giving her the handcrafted card created by designers from UKG’s base in the town.
Eileen, who became the first women home in the famous Cross Channel swim sponsored by the Daily Mail in 1950, told the Dewsbury Reporter that she had been overwhelmed by the beautiful card: “I received lots of cards and good will wishes but this was the greatest surprise of all. It’s absolutely wonderful. I will treasure it.”
Her TV interview was broadcast on her birthday, Saturday, June 9, as was the Pathe News film coverage of her epic swim and jubilant welcome home by 20,000 locals, and the card was also shown.
The card was co-ordinated by UKG studio director Catherine Dodd, who also gathered research on Eileen’s swim, and a company spokesman said: “It was a privilege to produce this card. It was a small team effort by a really talented group of people.”
Eileen can still fit into the tiny black costume she wore which is now in the care of Kirklees Council’s cultural services department along with the Desvres porcelain vase the citizens of Boulogne presented to her on arrival in France.
And she said she would like the birthday card to be eventually placed alongside these so the public of Dewsbury could see it.
And Councillor Cathy Scott, who helped arrange a birthday buffet for Eileen, is looking into bring all the memorabilia back to Dewsbury Town Hall from Batley Museum in Bagshaw where it has been kept since Crow Nest Museum closed last year,
Cathy said: “It’s time they were brought back to Dewsbury. They are part of Dewsbury’s heritage – so is this beautiful card made by a local firm.”

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