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All 4 charities to be supported in 2017 are shown above.
Click their logo to take you to the web page promoting the event!

After seeing the garden on BBC Gardeners' World on 23rd September 2016, Rita King said "Just seen you on the television. Thank you so much for the pleasure you give to so many people and for the generous donations to Macmillan Cancer Support. You are a treasure."

Check out the Macmillan in Sussex web page too.

Have you ever considered opening your garden to raise money for charity? Check out my 2 blogs on the subject, posted on Richard Jackson's Garden website in March 2016 and January 2017 .

Record of all monies raised for charity since we first opened the garden gate shown below, with links to the charity web site.

£92911 raised since 2009.
£51,705 £22,609 £12,050 £2,032
£1,159 £989 £702 £601
£311 £310 £235 £207

2017 Fundraising for the charities below


In August, Sarah Coxhill, Senior Fundraising Manager for Macmillan sent the following e mail: "Geoff, I know you're being looked after by Tom and other members of the team but as I am back from my London post I couldn't miss the opportunity to say a huge congratulations on what is already set to be a record year. The coverage alone is priceless. Thanks so much for the tireless work and commitment you show year on year, it's such a good example to the local and even national community."

On the 29th & 30th July we opened as part of the 6th annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail, which I single-handedly organise, and raised a staggering £9000.

Joelle Leader, Director of Volunteering at Macmillan Cancer Support, said at the opening, "Thank you very much for the invite and I wanted to explain to you why your support is absolutely critical for Macmillan. In the UK we currently have 2.5 million people who are living with cancer and we know by 2040 that number will rise to 5.3 milllion. There is good news though, because in addition to that when my father had cancer in the 1970s the average life expectancy was 1 year and that life expectancy has now risen to 10 years. So we have more people living longer needing more support. When someone is diagnosed with cancer and maybe some of you will have experienced that, it can affect everything and turn a world upside down. So when a person needs someone to turn to we want to be there for them from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery. That is why we are so grateful for your support and why the Macmillan Horizon Centre is helping us to be there for people living with cancer. Being a Brighton resident myself I have seen the Centre literally being built from the ground to what it is now having opened in November 2016. In the first month alone of being open, December 2016 there were 1400 interactions with people living with cancer so it really is making a difference to so many people. Geoff Stonebanks has told me about all the incredible fundraising activities that he and other wonderful volunteers have been doing including this Driftwood Open Garden which in itself for just a weekend is likely to raise in the region of £9000. Altogether the total for last 5 years that went to the Horizon Centre from Geoff and local volunteers fundraising was £42,000 which is quite phenomenal. Last week in London we had a take over day where all the staff take to the streets to raise money and I shook a bucket at Victoria station for about 3 hours and I think only raised about £100 so I know how hard it is and that sort of money raised in is incredible So I want to extend a huge and heartfelt thank you to Geoff for his relentless fundraising and commitment to Macmillan in order to make this all happen and to everyone else too whatever you do whether it is opening your garden, selling raffle tickets or making the tea because it is really making a difference to people who are living with cancer. Thank you so much again."

On 12th August we took part in the inaugural Gardens And Health week run by the National Garden Scheme. We invited 30 carers from the Association of Carers to visit the garden for complimentary tea and cake. Click to see video.

Our 4 openings for the National Garden Scheme to date have raised over £2872 for the charity this year! There have been many private visits to the garden through it's newly gained status, having been awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. All proceeds from these visits go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

On the 11th June we opened for the first time in 2017 for the Mayor's trail. Cllr Linda Wallraven was on hand along with local MP, Maria Caulfield, to officially open the trail which raised over £2000 for the Mayor's charity, Seaford Lifeguards. On the 1st July we opened again for Family Support Work but numbers were low and we only raised just over £300.

2016 Fundraising

This "Opinion" piece I was asked to write for The Argus on fundraising appeared in the paper on the 24th October 2016.

On 25th November 2016 I was invited to the More Radio Awards ceremony at the All Saints Chapel in Eastbourne. I had been nominated, shortlisted and actually won their Fundraiser of the Year Award which was quite incredible. Then, on 2nd December, it made the front page of Seaford Herald newspaper too! Equally amazed to receive a certificate from BBC Sussex in recognition of my nomination in the "Fundraising" category of their 2016 Community Heroes Awards too!

The award had been generously sponsored by Room 2 Let. You can see the short video More Radio filmed and showed at the ceremony on the right.

On 28th September 2016, we were invited to the Macmillan Horizon Centre, to have a preview of the new building. It was with complete surprise we discovered that Driftwood Fundraising Group was listed on the roll call of supporters and donors in the main reception area. Sussex Committees had raised a staggering £1.1 million towards the building of the centre and Driftwood Fundraising Group had contributed over £41000.

Before moving on to a new role, Tom Carter, Sussex Fundraising Manager said: "What a pleasure it has been to attend the trail over recent years and to thank you for the skill you show both in organising the event and raising fantastic awareness of Macmillan and the Horizon Centre."


Above supporters of the Driftwood Fundraising Group at a preview event at The Horizon Centre in September 2016, from left to right, Helen Roberts, Liz Holland, Mark Glassman, Geoff Stonebanks (Chair of group) Celia Hughes, Diane Marquess and Linda Wallraven.

On 4th September we presented Macmillan with a cheque for £8000, bringing the total raised for them since 2012 to an amazing £40000.

Sarah Coxhill, Sussex Fundraising Manager, said A huge thanks from Macmillan and in particular the Sussex Team. Your patience, continued hard work and enthusiasm has resulted in another huge donation towards the centre. A huge contribution to Macmillan over all, very much appreciated.

On the 2nd August 2016, the Argus printed a lovely full page article in the paper about my charity fundraising over the years. See copy on the right and click to read larger version. It also appeared online too. None of this would have been achieved without the considerable help, on all open garden days, of a willing band of volunteers who have steadfastly supported my fundraising efforts. Over the years they have been, Mark Glassman, Linda Wallraven, Celia Hughes, Diane Marquess, Helen Roberts, Richard Walsh, Liz Holland, Amanda Haines, Rosa Botterill, Michele Findlay, Clare Mayers and my mother, Barbara Stonebanks. We received a great letter from Macmillan about this years fundraising too, which can be read here.

On the 23rd July we opened for the very first time for local Sussex charity, Family Support Work and had 134 visitors raising £657 for the charity. Despite the sea mist which blew in as we opened it remained warm and many enjoyed tea and cakes on the beach garden.

On the 9th July, Maria Caulfield, MP, Cllr Lindsay Freeman, Mayor of Seaford, Tom Carter, Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, Carol Campbell, Deputy Mayor of Seaford and Seaford young Mayor all attended the opening of the Macmillan garden Trail at Driftwood.

After the event, Sarah Coxhill, Senior Sussex Fundraising Manager for Sussex said, We think this is a fantastic result, and what incredible press coverage, proving again that not only the money raised but a large proportion of awareness of Macmillan and specifically the Horizon Centre is at the forefront of Sussex media because of you. A huge thanks on behalf of Macmillan for your continued support, enthusiasm, hard work and commitment. We understand the amount of drive that goes into getting this together and delivering such an outstanding weekend for all the visitors. The weather is always so hard to predict but despite that it didnt dampen spirits. A huge congratulations to you all and enormous thanks.

On seeing all the coverage in the local press of the Macmillan Trail, Tom Carter, Area Fundraising Manager, said. "I know you were a little disappointed with how the weather hampered this years financial total, but the amount of excellent press you have secured is worth its weight in gold!"

On the 5th June, Maria Caulfield, MP, Cllr Lindsay Freeman, Mayor of Seaford and other dignitaries attended the opening of the 5th annual Mayor's Open Garden Trail at Driftwood. We've rasied over £10000 for the Mayor's charities over the years, with £2500 being raised on this event.

In my capacity of Chairman of Driftwood Fundraising Group, I was one of 52 local community volunteers invited to celebrate the work of people who volunteer their services for the good of the community at the 2016 Unsung Heroes Awards held at Newhaven Fort on the 16th April. This year, the event included representatives from the charities and voluntary organisations working locally that have been nominated to Ruth O'Keefe MBE, Chair of the District Council, as part of her theme for the civic year 2015/2016 Charities and Voluntary Organisations of the Lewes District as well as individual Unsung Heroes nominated by her Lewes District Councillors. We were invited for the work we do for Macmillan Cancer Support and presented with a cheque for £100.

2015 Fundraising

On seeing a photo of the cheque for Macmillan on Facebook, local Seaford Town Councillor, Carol Campbell wrote, "AMAZING WORK!!!!! You created magic and you just deserve the fruits (or flowers) of your labour of love! Your garden is inspiring and what you are doing for charity certainly is incredible! Well done dear Geoff Stonebanks!!!! Pride of Seaford!!!! Xx"


We raised a total of £14243 in the summer of 2015 for all charities.

There was in incredible centrefold feature in the Argus on the 5th October 2015 with a piece about my charity fundraising too.


On 29th September 2015, Geoff Stonebanks met up with Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, Lynda Thomas on the site of the new Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton. Lynda was interested to hear about the development of the trail and Geoff's aspirations for 2016.

The Artwave Festival took place from 22nd August and 6th September and on the final day we presented Macmillan with £8000 which was the monies from the garden trail in July and Artwave raffle, donations and kitchen proceeds!
Tom Carter who accepted the cheque for Macmillan said ďI was delighted to visit the beautiful Driftwood garden again on Sunday. This remarkable donation is a credit to the wonderful enthusiasm and commitment of Geoff and all the garden owners who participated in the trail. Without them Macmillan simply could not be there with medical, financial, practical and emotional support for the 25 people newly diagnosed with cancer in Sussex every day.Ē

I was e mailed by a lady during the festival who said "Wow! You have moved me to tears. Congratulations on your fantastic effort raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. As a person 'living with cancer' myself, I am so grateful to you for this. Macmillan nurses are so fabulous, and have helped other members of our family cope during times of crisis and loss."

Christine Walkden tweeted her good wishes after the presntation too!

as did Macmillan in Sussex too.
Christine Walkden was in the garden on the 25th July supporting Macmillan Cancer Support and the garden trail.

Tom Carter, Sussex Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support said "What an incredible achievement! Thank you to all for the huge effort and passion you have put into your wonderful gardens and the very significant difference it will make to the lives of local people affected by cancer.

Nice comment from Macmillan on twitter on the 28th July on announcing £6089 had been raised from the Macmillan garden Trail! I was included twice, in an 6 minute interview on Click on the World Service on 30th June concerning "Charities in the digital age!" Click logo to hear the whole interview.

A great piece about my charity work also appeared in national gardening magazine Garden News on 4th July.

A lovely article appeared in the Daily Mail Weekend Magazine on 27th June and also Mail Online about my fundraising activities for charity, seen here as tweeted by the journalist herself

On the 28th April I was invited to a ceremony in the new Golf Club in Seaford by the Mayor! I was very pleased indeed to be awarded this lovely glass piece in recognition of the £47000 I had raised for charity fundraising through opening the garden and organising the Mayors Open Garden Trail!

I have published a 2015 edition, hard & soft back, book on Driftwood now on sale on Blurb here as well as a PDF version for iBook, iPad & iPhone. Proceeds from sales go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

2014 Fundraising

In December 2014, Sarah Coxhill, Fundraising Manager in Sussex for Macmillan wrote, "For another year Geoff, youíve done Macmillan, yourself and those affected with cancer proud. Iíve said it before but we do so appreciate the monies raised and profile building you do for us quietly and independently, itís an awesome example of true giving. Thank you. A very Merry Christmas to you! Look forward to seeing you in 2015 for what looks like it could be even a bigger year for you than 2014! Please do thank, on our behalf, the volunteers and garden owners who offer support and fundraising through your event for us, its truly remarkable. Committees across Sussex this year have produced; garden trails, golf days, catering at wakes, cinemas, bridge teas, store/street collections, craft fairs, coffee mornings, rock n roll nights, steam rallyís, farmers markets, memorial events to name but a few, has resulted in a staggering £529,308 being banked so far, contributing towards the £1.9 million that has been raised to date in Sussex in 2014. We really couldnít achieve this kind of result without you, so from all of us thank you so so much."

Macmillan Cancer Support featured Geoff Stonebanks as an "Amazing Fundraiser" on page 15 in their national magazine, Mac News's winter edition in December 2014, which you can see here!

A great article appeared in Seaford Herald on the 14th November about the monies raised for the new centre in Brighton.

The most significant contribution to our charity efforts in 2015 will come through the incredible support of TV gardener, Christine Walkden! As patron of the garden trail I organise for Macmillan

over the last 3 years she has found time in her busy schedule to come and open the trail from my garden on 25th July 2015. I'm sure this will contribute significantly to the monies we raise next summer! Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity Christine!

2014 was our most successful charity fundraising year, we raised an amazing £16000 for all charities. The open garden season culminated with us being able to present Macmillan with a whopping cheque for £10000. Below you can see the presentation to Rob Moon on the 7th September.

Macmillan Cancer Support issued a Press Release on the 12th November and Driftwood's efforts are featured on page 2, check it out here .

Marliyn Mountford posted on facebook, on seeing the image above, "Wow,I have been commenting, congratulating all that you and your supporters have achieved. It really is a wonderful story of committment and dedication to a cause. Other charities would be so envious to have supporters like you! So hope I can come next year and be part of something so special, even if only in a very small way! Good luck and congratulations!"

Prior to visiting on 7th September, Rob Moon, Macmillan's Regional Fundraising Manager for Sussex said "it sounds like youíre having a fantastic summer and breaking all records! Iíve tried to keep up on twitter but youíre so hot on there that Iím sure Iíve missed a few tweets, although what Iíve caught has been brilliant Ė itís such a great way of getting the message out there. Add in all the other press you manage to secure, plus the feature on Latest TV and you really are a true superstar fundraiser, I canít thank you enough for everything you do. Please also pass on my gratitude to all the garden owners, artists and all the other people who help make this such a success. Ten thousand pounds takes us another big step towards opening The Sussex Macmillan Cancer Support Centre and will make a huge difference to people across Sussex affected by cancer. Again, thank you and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Let the sun shine!"

On the 27th July, a radio presenter from the World Service's Click programme, Jonathan Kent, came and spoke to me about the relationship between social media and fundraising. You can hear the interview on his blog here .

Here you can see the total of visitors and monies rasied for charity 2009 to 2014!

Work commenced on building the new cancer centre in Brighton on the 24th February 2014. The garden has raised over £23000 which has gone directly to this project! They say " We are well on track with fundraising, with the generous support of the local community, funds in hand for the Sussex Macmillan Cancer Centre already stand at over £2m. But they need your help now to raise over £1m" More money will be raised in the garden in 2015! Learn more about the new centre HERE.

The Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail in 2014 raised an amazing £7500 for the new cancer centre. It will take place again in 2015. Seen here the opening ceremony at Driftwood.

After the 2014 trail, Sarah Coxhill, Macmillan's Fundraising Manager in Sussex said;" I Just wanted to say how bowled over I was at the extent of the growth of the event, the following, the coverage, the quality and the enthusiasm. I hope youíre feeling proud as punch with yourself and all that youíve achieved. I know you donít need the promotion but just for your information, Rob Moon (Area Fundraising Manager) has specifically asked for a write up about you and your initiative to be shared nationally. We are also hoping for a piece in the Mac News nationally too. As you know itís not just the funds you raise but the enormous awareness you raise around the build and which we are in need of. As Iíve often said the true impact of everything youíve done and are doing canít be measured but please know it makes an outstanding contribution to what weíre trying to do in Sussex."

Received in March 2014 this great certificate to acknowledge the £7120 raised in 2023 for Macmillan, along with the covering letter!

Many thanks indeed to Taylors of Harrogate and Sarah Wells, their Community Support Officer in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as they have been extremely generous in donating all the Yorkshire Tea we served in the garden thereby increasing our charity donations.

2013 Fundraising

In December 2013, I became a finalist in the BBC Sussex Community Heroes Awards for fundraising efforts, after raising nearly £32000 for various charities in the last 4 years. Apparently I had received more nominations from their listeners than for any other award! Absolutely amazing!

Thank you so much to those who nominated me! Thanks as well to Macmillan's Director of Regional Fundraising, Claire Singlehurst, for the wonderful letter of thanks, shown below, thanking me for my efforts.

The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday December 11th where this certificate was presented. In the run up to the ceremony I was interviewed 3 times on BBC Sussex with Allison Ferns on the 11th December here . One with Neil Pringle on the BBC Sussex Breakfast Show on Wednesday 4th December, here and one with Joe Talbot, on Dig It, here, which was broadcast on Sunday 17th November.

In 2014, in addition to the charities shown above, we will be raising money for those charities appointed by the incoming Mayor of Seaford for 2014. Cllr. Anthony White's charities for 2013 were Waifs & Strays Dog Rescue Centre and Seaford Downs Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group. On taking office on 9th May he said of Driftwood, "Thank you so much for your support for the mayor and charities both past and ongoing, Seaford is proud of its associations and voluntary groups and Driftwood Garden is extremely highly regarded for the efforts that it consistently offers."

After their visit to the garden during Artwave, Pete & Hilary Bagguley wrote to say, "Sincere congratulations too on the staggering amount of your fundraising. We have held various fundraising events over the years including just one open garden & that was definitely the most labour-intensive event we have ever done! So after the huge labour of love you have spent creating it, we can only imagine the hours you spend maintaining such a truly beautiful, exciting & interesting garden. To be raising so much money for good causes in the process is a phenomenal effort. WELL DONE!"

On the last day of the Artwave Festival, Rob Moon, Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan, came to the garden to be presented with a cheque for £8900, you can see me here making the presentaion! Rob said ĎMacmillan wants to make sure that no one in Sussex faces cancer alone and we can only do so through the generous support of the public. I want to thank Geoff and everyone involved with the Driftwood Fundraising Group for their fantastic support, the money raised will go towards The Sussex Macmillan Cancer Support Centre Appealí.

Great thank you letter received from Macmillan's Director of Regional Fundraising following the garden trail. Whilst I organised and facilitated the event it would not have been possible without the garden owners, sponsors and Christine Walkden & Jack Dunckley who all made the event a fantastic success! Thanks to all!

In the run up to the National Gardens Scheme Festival weekend in June 2013, I supported Macmillan at their Head Office in Vauxhall by devising and running a "lunch & do" session for them about the relationship between the NGS and Macmillan. It involved some hands on gardening and a web chat session. Ellie Walker (Account Manager, Corporate Partnerships Department) said "Thanks for making our first NGS festival celebrations so special at Macmillan. Your contribution was the highlight of our week! We appreciate the time you gave us and the enthusiasm you put in to every task! Good luck with the summer season and all your fundraisng!"

On hearing how much was raised on the trail in 2013, Pat Latham, the garden owner from Cranborn Avenue in Eastbourne said, "Wow - really well done Geoff and everyone - it has been a pleasure to take part this year. We had a great time at Cranborn Avenue and the weather was just perfect. Your organisation and commitment are amazing Geoff - and what a brilliant amount raised. Thank you and well done."

The Macmillan Coastal Trail, which began in 2012, has gone from strength to strength and in 2013 Christine Walkden kindly agreed to become the patron and Jack Dunckley, hot from Chelsea 2013, agreed to officially open the event.

In March 2013 we received this certificate from Macmillan. I formed the Driftwood Fundraising Group a year ago and this acknowledges the £3815 raised last year through donations and raffles in the garden and the proceeds from the garden trail I organised. Additionally I had raised more prior to forming the group, so a grand total of £6100 since August 2010. Thank you so much to all our visitors for their generosity

In June, prior to the National Gardens Scheme Festival Weekend, I was asked to do a web chat with Macmillan and a "Lunch & Do" training session in their head offices in Vauxhall. Nicola Keith from Macmillan, in writing to George Plumptre, Chief Executive of NGS, said "The awareness week was a great success and I would like to thank you and Di Stafford in particular for recommending Geoff Stonebanks, both his lunch and do and online web chat sessions were well received and he was incredibly interesting and engaging."

2012 Fundraising

Gill Weaver, who opened her garden for both the Mayor's event and Macmillan in 2012 said, "I have huge admiration for the way you have approached the whole fund-raising enterprise and your pure professionalism over the whole venture. You deserve all the accolades, editorials, interest - and more." Following the 1st Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail I organised in August 2012, where we raised £2600, one of the garden owners, Julie Basham said, "You are a diamond Geoff, this was so well organised, you put in a great deal of work. If it wasn't for people like you these charities wouldn't exist. Good on you, I feel priveleged to be a part of it."

After the Mayor's Open Garden Trail in July 2012, Cllr. Linda Wallraven, Mayor of Seaford, said "On behalf of the charities that you (Geoff) have supported through your marvellous efforts, thank you once again. Your community spirit and generosity is a rare and wonderful thing and a true inspiration to others."

Many thanks to the Mayor of Seaford, Cllr. Linda Wallraven, for putting me forward for a Community Service Award in 2012, in recognition of monies raised for charity by opening the garden over the last 3 years and in particular organising the Mayor's Open Garden Trail for Seaford which took place on Sunday 8th July 2012.

2011 Fundraising

After visiting Driftwood garden during the Artwave Festival in 2011, Sylvia Argyle said "Congratulations on another excellent Artwave and for organising the impressive collection for the new Cancer Centre. People leave Driftwood with such positive feelings about your work and that encourages them to give generously! So it is really a big thank you to you both."

All the money raised in the garden is by either charging entry or by asking for donations if visitors have enjoyed their visit. Additionally, we sell home made sweet and savoury cup cakes, served with teas and coffees on trays with vintage china, in the garden. All proceeds from these sales go to the charities we sponsor on that day.

ARTWAVE 2011
Pictured left is Macmillan's Rachel David, Fund Raising Manager for Sussex, receiving the cheque for monies raised and on the right, Liz Davis receiving her first prize in the raffle.

In 2011 we raised money for The Cinnamon Trust, The National Gardens Scheme, Sussex Beacon, Seaford in Bloom, St Andrews Saxon Church in Bishopstone, Seaford Mayor's charity Waves (for which we raised £580) and Macmillan Cancer Support.

2010 Fundraising

In 2010 we raised money for Sussex Beacon, Macmillan, Seaford in Bloom and St Andrews Church.

2009 Fundraising

In 2009 for Martletts Hospice and Seaford In Bloom.