STROUD’S favourite sporting son and revered artist Jack Russell has paid tribute to his agent Jim Ruston, who has retired after a 23-year partnership with the former Gloucestershire and England cricket legend.
Their unique amalgamation happened by chance and has stood the test of time with the pair forging a firm friendship.
"We met by chance, got chatting and he offered to sell my paintings for six months, which turned into 23 years of friendship,” said Russell MBE, who played 54 Tests for England in a 23-year career spent with his native Gloucestershire - he was Wisden's 'Cricketer of the Year' in 1990.
With Jim, Jack opened the Jack Russell Gallery in Chipping Sodbury.
Jim helped guide Jack’s metamorphosis from Test wicket-keeper to renowned artist, whose paintings hang in a variety of galleries from the Tower of London to the Bradman Museum in Bowral, New South Wales.
Russell added: “Since that first day we met I’ve been ‘hanging on to his coat tails ever since.
“Now, unfortunately it’s time for me to let go and allow Jim to put his feet up after 61 years as a master salesman.
“Without Jim, my career wouldn’t have been half the one it has been, both on- and- off the cricket field.
“On behalf of Jane Gardiner at the gallery, my wife Aileen, our children and especially myself, ta to Jim.
“ Life at the Jack Russell Gallery and in the Russell household won’t be quite the same again.”