Lawrence, whose five-match England career was cut short by a horrific knee injury in 1992, claimed 625 wickets in 280 matches for Gloucestershire between 1981 and 1997, in which time he formed a feared pace attack alongside Courtney Walsh and Kevin Curran.
He was announced as the club’s new president at their AGM on Thursday, and in taking over from the outgoing Roger Gibbons on a two-year term, is the first Black president in Gloucestershire’s 152-year history.
“I’m a local boy, born in Gloucester itself and I came to Bristol when I was 16, so to be back as President is a great honour for me,” Lawrence said. “It does show you how far we’ve come as a Club, it shows me where the game is going and needs to go.
“But I’m not here just as a token gesture, and what I mean by that is a lot has happened in cricket over the last six months, and we know we need to do more within the game. I’m happy to be making sure we are going in the right direction.
“It’s time for more diversity and I know that I’m going to be the first President of colour at Gloucestershire and that means a lot to me.”
Syd has also outlined his ambitions to help inspire the next generation, from all backgrounds, to get involved in cricket with Gloucestershire during his time as Club President.
Lawrence intends to play an active role in the African-Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme, among other community schemes, as well as working as a mentor for the club’s next generation of cricketers.
“I think it’s important that we get more inner-city kids playing the game, black, white, male and female”, he added. “I would love to see a local boy walk out to play for Gloucestershire. That would give me immense pleasure to see that happen and that’s what we want; we all want to see more local boys and girls playing for Gloucestershire.”
Despite his huge popularity as a player, Lawrence suffered from racist abuse and prejudice during his career, and last year he told the Sky Sports’ documentary “You Guys Are History” how a fellow player had left a banana skin outside his hotel room during his first away match with the club in 1981.
The club contacted Lawrence immediately after the documentary had been aired, and issued an unreserved apology soon afterwards.