A Dundee octogenarian has received a rare honour from Pope Frances for 54 years of devoted service to the Catholic Church.
William (Bill) Butter was awarded the Benemerenti Medal at a special service at St Ninian’s Church in Menzieshill on Wednesday night.
Mr Butter said he was very grateful to have received the accolade.
He said: “It was very humbling to be honoured in that way, especially from the Pope.
“It was a very nice presentation and a nice ceremony.
“There was quite a lot of parishioners there which I was very grateful for.”
Helping people in need
The dedicated 80-year-old was awarded for his devoted services to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (Scotland) in Glasgow and St Ninan’s Church in Dundee.
Mr Butter was recognised for his work in assisting the poor and needy over five decades and said he found most satisfaction from helping people in need.
He added: “That was certainly the aim of the award, due to the service and what I’ve done in the past.”
Mr Butter’s daughter-in-law, Clare Butter, says it is a major honour for him to be given the award.
She said: “My father-in-law has been involved with the church for very many years.
“He has carried out a variety of roles including being an elder and a regular churchgoer.
“He was delighted to be awarded this honour from the Pope.
“We are all very proud of him and it’s brilliant to be able to be at the church to celebrate this occasion with him.”
After his years of work, Mr Butter has stepped down from his services to the Catholic Church after having a stoke four years ago as well as suffering from a bad leg.
But he added that he still attends the church when possible and strives to continue as an active member of the roman Catholic.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Dunkeld – of which St Ninian’s Church and Mr Butter are members – said: “This is an honour handed down by the Pope for services to the church and is fairly rare.”
Mr Butter, who retired as a technician from Abertay University several years ago, grew up in Menzieshill.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Maureen, and the couple went on to have five sons.
Several members of his family accompanied him to the ceremony where he received the gold medal from Bishop Stephen Robson, the Bishop of Dunkeld.
The Benemerenti Medal was originally established as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army and was first awarded by Pope Pius VI in 1831.
It was later extended and in 1925 it became concept to award the medal as a mark of recognition to anyone in the clergy and laity for services to the church.
Only a handful are awarded each year.