Archbishop pinning the medal on Bill Scully

William Fairley Scully

A Medal for Choir Master Scully


Bill Scully

This is how grandfather dressed every time he attended mass – full suit and tie, and his Benemerenti.

My paternal grandfather, William Fairley Scully or Bill Scully was a devout Catholic and quite active in the church. When he lived in Queen Street, he served as choir master at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. In the choir loft of the cathedral, there is a plaque with my grandfather’s name on it.

In 1934 when he moved to 7 Martia Road in Katong, he became choir master at the Church of the Holy Family.  He also played the violin and devoted a lot of time and effort to rearrange religious chants into hymns that the choir could sing more easily.

On 20 May 1951 he received the Benemerenti, a papal award for his services to the Church.  It was bestowed on him by His Grace Archbishop Olçomendy, in a ceremony at the Holy Family Church.

William “Bill” Scully kissing Archbishop Olçomendy’s ring

William “Bill” Scully kissing Archbishop Olçomendy’s ring

In the latter part of his life my grandfather had knee problems and was unable to stand or walk for prolonged periods. He used a wheelchair to get around. Every Sunday, his son Fred would push him in his wheelchair from Martia Road, which is near Katong Convent, along East Coast Road to Chapel Road to attend mass at Holy Family Church.  He was always dressed in a full suit, long sleeved shirt and necktie and his Benemerenti, which he was very proud of, was pinned to his lapel. He passed away in 1958 at the age of 74.


Editor’s Note: The Benemerenti is awarded to those who have performed long and exceptional service to their parish. The word may be translated as “a well deserving person”.

Contributed by: Martha Shepherdson
Edited on : 06/12/18