The sporting scene in Salisbury has lost one of its best-loved and most dominant personalities and performers from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s following the recent passing of Peter Russell.

Edwin Peter Russell was born on August 12, 1939 just weeks before the outbreak of Second World War in Lower Bemerton Salisbury, just 150 yards from the ground where he would make his name in both cricket and football.

There, in the early 1950s, he played football for Bemerton Boys, who were instrumental in leading to the formation of Bemerton Athletic FC (the precursor of Bemerton Heath Harlequins) and the side dominated local football through the late 1950s and early 60s.

At the same time and on the same ground he played junior cricket at South Wilts and at the age of 14 made his senior debut for the club, playing his last game at age 53.

During his sports career, he was part of two legendary partnerships.

The first as a potent left-side partner, playing in the old inside left position, in tandem with his brother John.

The second was as an opening batting partner,  for more than 10 years, with Brian White. 

He also played Minor Counties cricket, alongside Brian, for Wiltshire. He was a first-class cover fielder and an integral part of the South Wilts side of that era.

Following his retirement from active sport he carried his contribution on to the administrative side and served South Wilts CC for 19 years in the role of Secretary, as well as helping prepare the grounds before weekend matches.

He also served for more than 10 years on the Committee of Wiltshire County Cricket Club. He was always seen at the cricket ground on match days and as recently as 2022 would remark the crease lines during the tea interval.

In 2021 he, along with Brian White, became the first to be awarded life membership of his beloved club.

A product of Bishops Wordsworth School, Peter had a career as a Quantity Surveyor with Salisbury District Council.

He met his wife Ann while she was studying at the teacher's training college in Salisbury, and they married on World Cup Final day in July 1966.

Peter obviously didn’t fancy England's chances.

They had two children, Helen and Andy.

He kept fit during his later years by becoming a regular swimmer as well as a member of a walking group.

He was also an active member of his church. His manners were impeccable and he had the rare quality of being both loved and respected by his colleagues and teammates.

He was a role model of the highest order. He will be missed greatly. Rest in peace. 

By Stephen Hatcher

South Wilts Cricket Club chairman