A FORMER Past Master of Castlecatt LOL 877 who left an indelible mark on the Loyal Orders during a lifetime of dedicated service, has been honoured by his Lodge at a ceremony in the Orange Hall.
Bro. William Hanna joined Castlecatt Lodge in 1945 and up until his just over two years ago distinguished himself as a Lecturer who conferred degrees on countless Orangemen throughout his own district and beyond.
In memory of Bro. Hanna a bannerette was dedicated in his honour at a ceremony inside the hall where scores of Orangemen attended to pay their own tribute to a man described as “the Grand Master of Lecturers in the Bushmills district.”
The W.D.M. of Bushmills Bro. Brian Sweeney recalled that Bro. Hanna joined the Order 67 years ago and fulfilled all the qualifications of an Orangeman. Speaking of his kindness, Bro. Sweeney said that when Bushmills hall was sold and brethren were left ‘homeless’ Willie was the first to come forward and offer the use of Castlecatt Hall.
“Willie was best known as a Lecturer and travelled far and wide to confer Degrees. He was highly respected far and beyond his own district,” Bro. Sweeney said. He went on: “My memory of Willie is him tolling the Billy Church bells as he welcomed us to 877’s annual church service. For a man of his age he was outstanding and will be irreplaceable. He had a genuine and heartfelt desire to help others gain a true understanding of the Orange Order and this dedication officially recognises in a very special way the contribution he has made.” Bro. Tommy McAllister, a Past District Master, said he knew Bro. Hanna for the best part of 40 years and especially the first time they met face to face when his brother Billy got married to Willie’s daughter, Margaret.
“That was the start of a great friendship which lasted up to his death just over two years ago. Both Willie and the late George Creith taught me the Lectures for the Orange, Arch Purple and Royal Black that took up the best part of two years,” Bro. McAllister said.
“Willie had a wealth of knowledge and many of us asked him for advice on matters relating to Orangeism. He was very popular and well-liked by young and old; he was charming, witty and modest as well as being very humble. It was a great pleasure to have known someone who had a great love for his church, his family and the Orders.”