A farewell to Lars-Ola A true gentleman of Södermalm

Wow… the only word I can think of. What a weird day.
I moved to Skanstull five years ago and to be honest; it was an amazing gig! I worked five minutes away from home. The average second-hand contract in Sweden is six months. Technically, you move home every six months; I was meant to live there for that time, fast forward five years, I was still there! A magnificent apartment in a fantastic location. I guess the only thing that you did not have from being an ex-pat was a good social base.

Being British, I did what most people from the UK did. I found a good few bars and made some connections. O’Learys was the first. Met a talented guy called Mio. We connected immediately. We shared a love of 90s music, F1, Motorbikes and Blu-Rays. Another bar was Brother Tuck. This bar was special because of one man, Martin. We followed the same team, came from the same city. Top men!

But as things change, you realise that you socialise in unfamiliar places just for an escape. A few years ago I found a friendly pub called Hirschenkeller. Nothing fancy, just a bar in Södermalm that did cheap beer and food. Met a friendly person called Bethany, from Australia, who I had many a decent conversation with about life goals, ambitions and dreams.
Lars was a kind man. He battled his demons, yet in the past year or two had battled Cancer more.

A few weeks ago they gave him the all-clear. He would move from pub to pub and I would always buy him a beer or two when I could. He sold the magazine Situation, a magazine for homeless to sell, which is like The Big Issue in the UK. You get a profit for what you sell.
Over the past year, I was happy to share a beer with Lars and talk about life, the universe and everything.

He visited most of the bars I would go to but recently seemed to be frequently in the Södra bar just next to where I lived. He would always be cheery regardless.Two weeks ago I left Södermalm and moved to Solna, I saw Lars last two days before I moved.

Today I went back to Södermalm for the first time since I left and walked past the usual spot where Lars would be selling The Situation.

Then I saw it. There was a small shrine or tribute.

I had to stop. I knew he was old, but I was not sure if cancer had taken his life even though he said he had beaten it. But no, I had to read today the fact he was tragically murdered last week.

Painful to read. Very painful.

He was a marvellous man that did a lot for homeless people and those who did not have a great life. His unselfishness meant that many through his unselfish work could enjoy a better life.

Lars, we will miss you. Never forgotten.

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