SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITY
|Geoff has worked tirelessly for a number of charities since 2009, primarily Macmillan Cancer Support, through the Driftwood Fundraising Group, which he chairs. His work culminated in an invitation to a Macmillan Cancer Support reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales, in January 2018. Click image for more details. Monies also raised for the charities nominated by the Mayor Of Seaford each year and for the National Garden Scheme, (both as a garden owner and volunteering in a variety of key roles for the charity at County and National levels). All these activities have been focused around his own award winning garden Driftwood.|
|On 5th June 2018 he was invited to a Royal Garden party at Buckingham Palace. Click image for more details. Geoff opted to take his 91 year old mother, Barbara! His name had been put forward for the charity work he has done in Seaford. In May 2018 he was also awarded the Don Mabey Award by the Mayor of Seaford for "Exceptional Services to the town of Seaford." Below is a record of the monies raised to date for the different charities.|
If you want to support Driftwood Fundraising Group raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support but cannot visit this Summer, you can also donate via our Macmillan Just Giving page by clicking the sponsor me button below
On 13th July 2018 visitors, Janice and Mario Dennington handed over the £1 that took our fundraising over £100000.
During this time, Geoff's commitment and dedication has been recognised, both locally and nationally, as you can see below, culminating in 2 visits in 2018 to Buckingham Palace.
2018 Fundraising for the charities below
Click their logo to take you to the web page promoting the event!
On 22nd May I was invited to the Seaford Forum and was truly amazed to be awarded with the Don Mabey trophy for "Exceptional services to the Town of Seaford"
After seeing the garden on BBC Gardeners' World, 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."
A wonderful double-paged feature appeared in the Argus on 28th October 2017 talking about the £100,000 fundraising target that will be hit in 2018. A great quote from Rob Moon at Macmillan at the end of the piece.
After being told how much we had raised in 2017, Joelle Leader from Macmillan said "It was a real pleasure to meet some of you yesterday and receive the cheque (or in this case the numbers!). As I said, when I came to open the trail on the first weekend this year, I thought to raise the same £8000 that you did in 2016 would be amazing but to raise that and another £5000 on top is just unbelievable. Macmillan wants to be there for everyone going through cancer and this will really make a difference to being able to do that at the Horizon Centre. Thank you so much again to Geoff and to absolutely everyone for this incredible achievement. Looking forward to next year!" Christine Walkden, our Patron, wrote and thanked us for our work too!
In September 2017, Julia Crowe, a visitor to the garden wrote, "Congratulations. That is a staggering amount and the charities will surely appreciate all the work that you and your volunteers do. These charities rely on people, like all of you, to be able to survive and the people who need to use them would be lost without them. My sister is recovering from breast cancer and really appreciated the support given to her by Macmillan. My visit to your garden in summer with my friend Caroline remains one of my highlights. It was a special day and your kindness will always be remembered. You have achieved so much in your garden and it gives you and many others such pleasure.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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."
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.
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 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."
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."
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 2011Pictured 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.
In 2010 we raised money for Sussex Beacon, Macmillan, Seaford in Bloom and St Andrews Church.
In 2009 for Martletts Hospice and Seaford In Bloom.