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‘Waggy Bill'(William Norman Kerrigan) funeral service,10.30am Tuesday 28 May.

27 May 2024 No Comment

‘Waggy Bill’ (William Norman Kerrigan) funeral service,10.30am Tuesday 28 May, 2024 at  St Mary’s Church, Manly.

   As a  long-time member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I would like to pay tribute to ‘Waggy Bill’ (William Norman Kerrigan) who was a great help to me and to so many other alcoholics, especially to newcomers.

Although he took some time to stop drinking, Bill was one of a kind. 

As a  member who would have been 60 years sober on 28 May, the day of his funeral, he was a fine example of AA in action.

In our early days in the AA movement, Waggy Bill was a great inspiration to me, and also to my wife Lyndal Moor  who was 45 years sober when she died.

When I was about a year sober, I remember walking along George Street, Sydney, very much down in the dumps.  Suddenly, out of a manhole, Bill appeared. He offered some words of encouragement and disappeared, leaving me feeling amazed, uplifted, and alive.   

By sharing his powerful, moving message, Bill was instrumental in enabling many alcoholics of all persuasions to achieve sobriety, and to stay that way.

It is a tribute to Bill’s positive influence that his encouragement cut across all types of people.

Here is one example:

As a child of the Great Depression who spent a lot of time in jail and could neither read nor write, Bill was a considerable  help to one of Sydney’s leading barristers, Jack Mater, who himself became a long-time AA member and went on to encourage many others. Indeed ‘Lawyer Jack’ once told me that he regarded Waggy as his sponsor in AA.

Thus goes the circle of help and recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

As Bill was a life-long Roman Catholic. it is fitting that tomorrow’s funeral service is held at 10:30 am in Saint Mary’s Church, Manly, which throughout his remarkable life he regularly attended. 

My condolences to Waggy Bill’s son Adam, who has every reason to be very proud of a father who for decades assisted so many people.

‘RedfernRoss’:  54 years sober on Australia Day 2024.

Professor Ross Fitzgerald AM

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