Blackpool's oldest surviving player Cyril Lawrence passes away just two months shy of 100th birthday

Picture courtesy of Blackpool's Former Players' AssociationPicture courtesy of Blackpool's Former Players' Association
Picture courtesy of Blackpool's Former Players' Association | jpimedia
Blackpool’s oldest surviving player Cyril Lawrence has passed away at the age of 99.
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Lawrence, who was due to celebrate his 100th birthday in June, was one of the club’s rising stars prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

At 19, he was close to making a breakthrough on the Fylde coast as part of a Blackpool squad that also included Stan Mortensen.

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Blackpool topped the old First Division at the time, winning their opening three games of the season under manager Joe Smith.

Lawrence’s progress as a footballer was halted when he lied about his age to register for national service before conscription was introduced.

As he completed his military training with the Royal Navy he was able to represent Blackpool in a wartime fixture against Bolton Wanderers in December 1939 and returned for another game, while on leave, against Stockport County in September 1943.

Having spent five years on the battleship HMS King George V, Lawrence re-signed for Blackpool in 1946 on a deal worth £5 a week with a £3 bonus when he made the first team.

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The winger, born in Salford, left in 1947 to join Rochdale before going on to feature for Wrexham.

John Cross, from Blackpool’s Former Players’ Association, said: “Really sad news that Pool's oldest surviving player, Cyril Lawrence passed away yesterday morning aged 99.

“Cyril was just two months off celebrating his centenary.

“Cyril played a couple of war-time games for the Pool when he was home on leave from the Royal Navy.

“I met up with Cyril and his lovely family nearly 10 years ago when they visited Bloomfield Road.

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“Cyril was a smashing old fella who told me he loved his time playing for the Pool.

“Amazingly Cyril's wife Claire, also aged a young 99, is still going strong.

“Sincere condolences to Cyril's family, especially his wife Claire and daughters Elaine and Norma. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

“R.I.P. Cyril.”