The meeting of Unanimity Chapter No 4130 which took place on 8th March 2016 was a special meeting. The main purpose was to celebrate the 50th Anniversary in Royal Arch Freemasonry of EComp Bill Cavanagh. It is quite a singular occurrence for a companion to reach this milestone in the Royal Arch, for our order is that bit smaller than the Craft and it is clear to see that Bill is held in high regard by his Companions, the number who attended this meeting attested to that fact.
After the Chapter had been opened we were joined by EComp David H Thompson, PAGSoj, the Second Provincial Grand Principal, who was accompanied by EComp Rev’d Donald K Pryce, PGStB, the Third Provincial Grand Principal, EComp Eddie Barlow, PGStB, the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for the Southern Area, EComp John Pearson, PProvGReg, who is the APGM for Southern Area in the Craft, along with a number of Officers of Supreme Grand Chapter and District Officers of the Southern Area. EComp Thompson greeted the Chapter’s Principals, and was greeted by them in return, and, as is customary, on being offered the First Principal’s Sceptre, he accepted it and took the First Principal’s Chair.
EComp Thompson then took us through the events that had been taking place in 1965, around the time when young Bill Cavanagh was being exalted into Cheadle Chapter No 3731 on Tuesday, 2nd November 1965. This included the price of a loaf of bread, a pint of beer, a season ticket at one of Manchester’s major football teams and the weekly wage that a young man might have earned at the time. 1965 seems so long ago at this moment, at the time I was 15 years old and a long, long way from finding out about Freemasonry. One pertinent point that EComp Thompson mentioned was that, “Bill married his wife Norma 60 years ago next month and he is expecting a letter from the queen to congratulate them both on such a magnificent achievement. The last time Bill received a letter from the government was his call up papers to do National Service. He is just hoping that they send him the right letter this time.”
Bill Cavanagh was born in Stockport in December 1930. If you want to read his personal story, which was read out by his son John in the meeting, (but which, I have it on good authority, was actually penned by Bill himself), then you should find a downloadable PDF attached to this article. Bill was initiated into Reddish Lodge No 3615 on 5th December 1963, installed as their Worshipful Master on 5th October 1974, and again on 3rd October 1992. He assumed the role of Director of Ceremonies for 6 years, ultimately resigning from the Lodge in May 2012. He became a joining member of Trinity Lodge No 5651 in April 2011, the Lodge in which he held his 50th celebrations in the Craft. He is still a member of Townfield Lodge No 7024 in the Province of Cheshire. He was first appointed to the rank of PProvAGDC in November 1984, 7 years later he was promoted to the rank of PProvDepGSwdB, which was followed with the rank of PProvJGW in May 1997, finally achieving his current rank of PProvSGW in November 2010.
In the Royal Arch, Bill was Exalted into Cheadle Chapter No 3731 on Tuesday, 2nd November 1965 in the Province of Cheshire. He joined Unitas Fratrum Chapter No 7958 on the 27th January 1993 becoming their First Principal on 26th March 2003, but resigned when the Chapter moved to Rawtenstall. On the 14th October 2008 he became a joining member of Unanimity Chapter No 4130. According to EComp Thompson, he believes that he hoodwinked him into accepting the office of Third Principal with the copper bottom guarantee that he would not have to undertake any ceremonies as he progressed to First Principal in 2011. As EComp Thompson says, “Bill claims that he later discovered that apparently I make my living by selling snake oil to the poor and distressed who live in cardboard boxes in major cities.” On the 26th March 2009 Bill was appointed to the provincial rank of PProvGSoj and on the 17th March 2016 he was promoted to the rank of PProvGSwdB. I have no doubt that we all congratulate him on that well deserved promotion.
The Article regarding Bill Cavanagh’s Life and Times, delivered by John Cavanagh at the meeting,
can be downloaded by following this LINK.
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