A Pembrokeshire woman has appeared on the pages of one of Britain’s best-loved glossy magazines, sharing her story to inspire others.

Makala Jones solo swam the channel last year at the age of 55. This month she features in Good Housekeeping Magazine as an inspiring woman.

In her forties Makala suffered with depression and was in her words, ‘overweight and unfit with dodgy knees and a dodgy back’ and an intense dislike of open water swimming.

Fast forward a decade and she has joined an elite group of less than 850 women to have swum solo across the Channel.

Makala, from Milford Haven, had swum competitively as a child but it was in adulthood that she started cold water distance swimming.

At the age of 48 a friend asked her to join in the Broad Haven Triathlon. Despite her reservations she signed up and completed the challenge. She came in last but had so much fun she signed up for Ironman Wales.

However, open water swimming still wasn’t her thing and as for going in without a wetsuit, no way.

It was locally founded group, The Bluetits Chill Swimmers, that rekindled her love of swimming in the sea and helped her to discover a feeling of freedom swimming without a wetsuit, so much so that she eventually became one of their open water swimming coaches.

Makala also found that sea swimming helped her to cope with the depression she had been suffering from.

Before her cross-channel swim, in a moving video shot by Jake Aldred, Makala explained: “I was in a place where nothing would fix [my mental health]. I was completely numb and quite dead inside.”

Cold water swimming was a key part of her recovery.

“The water for me is like a physical therapy,” she says. “It’s a reset button. Getting into the water you are so concentrated on that water and the laughter and the joy.”

Makala succeeded in swimming the channel on Sunday, July 9, last year. She battled tides and jellyfish to complete the swim in 16 hours and 25 minutes.

“This is by far the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she told the Western Telegraph. “No matter what happens from here on, my name is up there as a woman who’s swam the English Channel.

“I’m living better at 55 than I was at 35,” she said in her Good Housekeeping interview. “Life is very different. I am not struggling with my mental health and I’m looking forward to my next adventures.”