ACAB- legend in his own lifetime

By Ant Miller Photo by Joel Goodman

ACAB Lawless the Man, Burngreave resident of 20-odd years, passed away on 11th March in St Luke’s Hospice.

Born in Leeds in the late ‘60s, ACAB’s birth name was Gary Lawson. He was brought up in a brutal care system, though never complained about his difficult childhood.

He came to be know as ACAB in his teens, after getting the acronym tattooed on his forehead.

As a young man he got involved in a number of social justice and environmental issues and campaigns. It was through this network of people that ACAB came to Sheffield in the late ‘90s.

At 6 foot 2, covered with tattoos, ACAB was a striking presence in the neighbourhood. Nearly every day he would be spotted on the streets of Burngreave as he walked between the houses of his various friends. He acted as part of the social glue of the area, as he shared a story (often hysterical) and a cup of tea at each stop.

ACAB had a strong moral compass. He didn’t just feel affronted by injustice, but felt a personal responsibility to actively challenge it. Whether it was stopping foxes being killed, trying to stop Britain attacking Iraq or preventing the trashing of the countryside for ‘development’, ACAB was always prepared to stand up for what he knew to be right. This often led him to put his body on the line; and with little regard for his own well-being, ACAB was arrested on numerous occasions. Stories of his fearless rebellion rapidly became legendary.

Through his sustained involvement in campaigning and his equal commitment to revelry, ACAB was well known and liked by people all across the country

. From the personal to the global, he was determined to make the world become a fairer place. He readily opened his home to people in need. Whether that be destitute asylum seekers, or people from the wider environmental movement, there would always be space to crash at his flat. ACAB was very helpful neighbour. Particularly keeping an eye out for, and helping his elderly neighbours.

He was a very determined man. He taught himself to read as an adult, and as a result became a regular user of Sheffield’s libraries. Later on in life he had his name officially changed to ‘ACAB Lawless the Man’, showing both his sense of humour and his lack of respect for authority.

Around three years ago ACAB was diagnosed with throat cancer. He underwent treatment at Weston Park Hospital. This seemed to see off the cancer. However, the cancer returned and, sadly, led to his death. His funeral on 4th April, at City Road Crematorium, was well attended.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2016-06-11 16:09:06.
The content of the page was last modified by John Mellor on 2016-09-28 11:17:47.

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