A GLOUCESTERSHIRE cricket legend who was the first British-born black man to play for England, has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

David Lawrence who is currently the president of Gloucestershire was diagnosed with MND earlier this month following a series of tests, the club confirmed. 

Born and brought up in Gloucestershire, Lawrence – affectionately known as ‘Syd’- played in 280 matches for his home county between 1981 and 1997, taking 625 wickets during his career at Nevil Road.

His first of five Test caps came in 1988 and also featured in one ODI. 

Unveiled as club president in April 2022, Gloucestershire confirmed Lawrence wanted to see out the entirety of his term at the county.

Gloucestershire chief executive Will Brown said on the county’s website: “Everyone at the club is devastated to hear of the news from David Lawrence and his MND diagnosis.

“David is an icon of the game, a club legend and a trailblazer as the first British-born Black player to play for England.

(Image: PA News Agency) “More than that he is the best of people, kind, loving, considerate and an inspiration to all of us here at Gloucestershire.

“Working with him since he has been club president has been both an awesome and humbling experience – he has opened doors we didn’t even know were there, helped us learn and become a friend to so many of us. That friendship is a very special thing and one I know we all cherish.

“I know I speak for everyone associated with the club in sending all our love to David, (his wife) Gaynor and all of their family and friends.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also passed on best wishes to Lawrence, who claimed 18 Test wickets and returned four for 67 in his ODI appearance against New Zealand before a fractured left kneecap cut short his career aged 28.

“We are saddened to learn of David’s diagnosis,” the ECB said in a statement on X.

“He embodies everything that is great about our game and all of our hearts go out to ‘Syd’ and his family.”

The Professional Cricketers’ Association will also continue to support Lawrence.

“David has been an inspiration throughout his cricket and post-cricket career and we have no doubt he will continue to fight and show his determination to fight MND,” said Ian Thomas, managing director of member services at the PCA.

“The PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, the players’ charity, will be here for David and importantly, his family, offering the best possible