FROM running nightclubs and car dealerships to owning winning race horses, Jim Naylor has had quite the life. But now in his old-age, the Barnsley man has clocked into his artistic side. He spoke to Chronicle chief reporter Jack Tolson about how drawing pulled him ‘out of the doldrums’ after his wife died and gave him a purpose after his cancer diagnosis.

The 85-year-old now resides on Staincross Common, and has done for the last two decades, but his eventful life has taken him across the globe.

It was initially his love for trumpets that allowed him to tour America and Canada with the Black Watch regiment in the forces.

He said: “I've played the trumpet since I was 13.

“I've played in the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and was a professional when I came out of the army.

“When I was 17 I had the opportunity to tour America and Canada with the Black Watch regiment.

“I toured with them, and even played at Madison Square Garden - all the big arenas. It gave me a start in life.

“I played locally for about eight years. I packed in when I was about 28 and forgot about the trumpet completely.”

He married his wife, Lily, in 1958 and began to start his life - often travelling out of his beloved Barnsley for a number of projects.

“I was born in Barugh Green, I'm a Barnsley lad and that's top and bottom of it,” he added.

“But I have travelled to quite a few places.

“I've had a nightclub at Featherstone Rovers.

“I bought their social club in 1977 and two years later I sold it and made £24,000 profit - which in those days was a lot of money.

“I sold it to Bob Ashby who was the chairman of the Rugby Football League.

“I've been a motor dealer most of my working life, buying and selling vehicles.

“My business as a motor dealer was J Russell Motors Barnsley at Stairfoot.

“It was where Snell and Robbins is - half of that was mine.

“I bought the Black Bull Farm in Midgley and ran the farm for my wife's love of greyhounds.

“I sold that in 2000 to move here.

“Then t'old lass, Lily, left me - but that's what old age does.”

Jim also turned towards his love of horse racing - owning two horses himself and being involved with another three.

“I'm a big horse racing fan - we had a horse which was a winner at Carlisle and Leicester.

“I have pictures in the winning enclosure.

“I was involved with a partner with three horse races and had two on my own which I used to ride on my own.

“I had the horses for about four years - it was an expensive hobby even then.”

Jim recalled of his love for Lily, who died 12 years ago.

It was a tough few years for him, as he was diagnosed with prostate cancer just a few years later.

“I was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and it’s moved into my bones,” he said.

“It’s been a tough ten years and it’s got to the point where they can’t do anything else in regards to treatment.

“It’s just a question of time.”

It left Jim in a difficult situation, admitting he didn’t know where to turn - but after one of his neighbours introduced him to the U3A, a group which supports elderly people across the borough, he said he hasn’t looked back.

It even brought back his love for the trumpet - as well as a new special talent he’s found, drawing.

“I only started this about eight years ago,” he added.

“A friend of mine she's a member of the U3A and she said if you're lonely then you should come.

“It's the best thing I've ever done.

“We meet every Monday at Priory Campus - it occupies time and you meet some really nice people.

“I lost my wife 12 years ago, had two years in the doldrums and decided to join the U3A.

“I didn't know which way to turn.

“They had two painting groups - I took a two-inch and a half-inch brush and they said you don't paint with things like that.

“I went out and bought some stuff.

“I've finished up to this standard of painting through joining the U3A - it gives me a lot of pleasure.”

Jim’s fantastic work resonates with his passion for horse racing - but he also draws some more unique personalities, such as former Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison and football manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Asked why he chooses those people, he said: “If I see a subject I like to sit down and draw it.

“It's the subject that's the problem.

“I’ve not drawn recently because I don’t know who or what to make my subject.”

When asked about drawing Lily to try and rekindle his artistic skills, he said: "That's a point.

"You've got me thinking there.

"I'm going to have a think about that - it's got me studying.

"I've never even thought of that.

"It's an interesting idea - I'll have to think about something I can recreate.

"The trouble is there's not a lot of detail on some of the photos.

"The photos are times to remember.”