Former England bowler and Gloucestershire president David Lawrence diagnosed with MND

David Lawrence/Former England bowler and Gloucestershire president David Lawrence diagnosed with MND
Lawrence, 60, is receiving support from the Professional Cricketers' Trust - Gloucestershire CCC

Gloucestershire great David “Syd” Lawrence has become the latest high-profile sportsman to be diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Lawrence, 60, has been the Gloucestershire president since 2022, following a glittering career in which he became the first British-born black man to play for England and took 625 wickets in 280 matches for his home county.

He has now revealed that he has been diagnosed with MND and is receiving support from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.

A statement read: “While devastated at the diagnosis, David will fight the disease all the way and has expressed his thanks to the club, the PCA and the Hornsby Trust, for all their support during this extremely difficult time”.

Lawrence played five Tests and one ODI for England between 1988 and 1992, but his career was effectively ended aged 28 when he suffered a horrendous knee injury while running in to bowl against New Zealand in Wellington. He dislocated his kneecap, and attempted to make a first-class comeback five years later, but managed just four matches. In retirement, he became a body builder.

Will Brown, whose tenure as Gloucestershire CEO ends this month, said: “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. 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, Gaynor and all of their family and friends.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board said: “We are saddened to learn of David’s diagnosis. He embodies everything that is great about our game and all of our hearts go out to ‘Syd’ and his family.”

Earlier this month, the rugby league great Rob Burrow passed away aged 41 having been diagnosed with MND in 2019, while the former Scotland rugby union lock Doddie Weir died in November 2022, six years after his diagnosis. A number of other high-profile sportsmen, such as the former Gloucester and Leicester lock Ed Slater, and former footballers Marcus Stewart and Stephen Darby, are also living with the cruel degenerative disease, for which there is currently no cure.