Provincial Grand Master's
Discretionary Awards


We were stunned, delighted, and very honoured indeed to discover that the Dover War Memorial Project had been chosen for an award from the Discretionary Fund of the Freemasons' Provincial Grand Master of the Province of East Kent.  On 13th October 2007 we were invited to the presentation of the awards, in the presence of the Mayor of Maidstone, at the Invicta Park Barracks, Maidstone.




The Ghurkas are based at the barracks, and we were made most welcome with some unusual entertainment. A piper began the ceremony, followed by two adorable little dancers. The traditional knife-dance was rather different - fast and furious, and with the blades of the kukri glinting dangerously with every move. Two senior members of the Province, the Provincial Secretary Worshipful Brother Roger Odd and the Deputy Provincial Secretary Worshipful Brother Lyndon Jones sportingly joined in when the dance was repeated - and thankfully survived unscathed! 

the knife dance - WBro Roger Odd in background, WBro Lyndon Jones in foreground

The occasion was a joyous, friendly, light-hearted event - but with the most serious purpose of helping a number of local causes. The Right Worshipful Brother, Michael Robin Bailey, the Provincial Grand Master, made the generous presentations; each one was followed by an acceptance speech where a representative explained the work of her or his organisation.

the DWMP speech

people listening

Marilyn Stephenson-Knight, Simon John Chambers, and Michael Webb represented the Dover War Memorial Project

walking back to our seats

A great variety of organisations were represented, demonstrating the many different means of helping the community,  and the great dedication of the volunteers and the employees, of the various good causes.

all the representatives in a photocall for the press

pictures: Simon Chambers and Carole-Louise Piqué-Webb

This is the text of Maggie's speech:

Good morning.

“What you have accomplished through The Dover War Memorial Project is to raise the dead. The generous consequences of your single mindedness have done much to give breath to the almost forgotten memories of 1914. The tissue of folly that wrapped my great uncle and all the others in an early grave now has some kinder edges.

Your presentation offers a memory of them that is lightened and refreshed. On the screen he looks younger, stares out stronger, and is not dulled by the musty smell of old photographs. The hopeful promise of the day that they entered that conflict, has somehow returned to them.”

That is what one of the relatives of our war casualties said to me. I’m Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. I’m the founder of the Dover War Memorial Project. It’s one of the most successful initiatives in remembering those who died for us in the two world wars.

Dover was the frontline town in both wars - our website is its virtual memorial. It’s global – it receives 150,000 hits a month from over 50 countries. That translates into well over 300 visits a day - and people from around the world help us achieve the aims of  the project.

We remember with love, honour, and respect our lost ones. We help future generations understand the enormous significance of war. We bring people together – our next event will be a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving on 6th November – everyone is welcome

Nearly every village has its war memorial, but the most important part of any memorial is the knowledge in our heads. That’s the intangible memorial. Without this the names become just lists. We forget that they were just like us. We forget that they had families who loved them. We lose the human dimension. It happens very quickly –in just a few decades, the knowledge is lost, as those who erected the memorial themselves pass on into the shadows. 

It is this knowledge - the intangible memorial - that the Dover War Memorial Project seeks to recreate. It is to this the discretionary award will be directed – to the technology enabling the Project to continue its work and to continue updating its global virtual memorial in honour of those who gave all they had

One of those was Reginald Beeston. He was just 16 when he died two days before the Armistice in 1918. He was a trumpeter in the Royal Garrison Artillery. That’s the same unit in which his father Clifford had served for 21 years. Reginald was buried in the same grave as Clifford – at Buckland, Dover.

Clifford was a Freemason – in Gibraltar with Inhabitants’ Lodge 193, and when the family came to Dover he was admitted to Military Jubilee. (That was also my grandfather’s lodge.)

When Clifford died in 1909 the family was left destitute. There were four children - the youngest, a girl, was just two. The Freemasons came to their aid – they found the oldest son an apprenticeship with a coach trimmers in Dover, and the younger two were helped to gain places at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School.   

A few months ago a family contacted us. We proved that Reginald was their great uncle. The family had known nothing about him, and nor had they known the burial place of their great-grandfather, Clifford. This is just  just one of scores of instances where people have been brought together again, and casualties returned to the care and remembrance of  their family by the work of the Dover War Memorial Project 

I would like to thank all Freemasons for their unfailing support – and courtesy – since the Project began. We are absolutely delighted that our Project should have been chosen for a discretionary award. But we are merely instruments ensuring that those brave Dovorians who died, and their families, will be remembered for ever.

It is both a privilege and a passion to do this work in their memory. I see this marvellous award as honouring those people who no longer can speak for themselves. We of the Dover War Memorial Project, are very moved that their memory continues to be held so dear.

Thank you very much.

Copyright 2008 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved