Community News

Local gardener smashes his fundraising records in 2018

Besi Besemar September 4, 2018

Seaford gardener, Geoff Stonebanks, successfully uses his small garden to raise huge amounts for local charities.

HIS award-winning garden, Driftwood, in Bishopstone, has become a local tourist attraction. To date the garden has seen over 19,500 visitors, received over 80 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and become a finalist in this year Lewes District Business Awards Tourist Destination of the Year. It recently featured on page 3 in a national daily newspaper and the BBC shot a short film there recently too.

Last weekend saw a close to the 2018 open garden season with some record-breaking numbers achieved to boot!

Tom Lay, Regional Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support was on hand to receive the £7,483 Geoff and other gardeners had raised from the Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail along with the balance from activities in Geoff’s own garden, for the charity. In total, Macmillan Cancer Support received a cheque for £12,515.

Many visitors were on hand at Driftwood to cheer the event on.

Tom said: “It was a complete pleasure to visit Geoff and his team this weekend to celebrate raising an incredible amount of money for people living with cancer. We are so grateful for the stalwart efforts of Geoff Stonebanks and everyone involved in the Driftwood Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail. The money raised by everyone opening their gardens will make a huge difference and supports the work being done at the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton and we cannot thank them all enough.

“Not only does Geoff support Macmillan by organising and fundraising for this brilliant event, he also raises masses amounts of awareness and we couldn’t be there for people who need us, without people like Geoff, the team that supports him, the garden owners and visitors who come to see these beautiful gardens.”

However, the weekend got much better for Geoff and his merry band of volunteers as he went on to declare that the total monies he had raised in 2018 alone, including the Macmillan money, had now reached an amazing £19,444.  This smashed last years’ figure by some £850.

Geoff said: “Whilst people are very quick to praise me for what I have achieved, for which I thank them, BUT, I have merely created the vehicle through which we can raise money. I need visitors to come and supply the cash through eating tea and cake, buying raffle tickets or paying an entrance fee, and other gardeners to open their gardens, so thank you to everyone involved over the years.”

Darren and Kevin from Saltdean said of Driftwood: “There is so much love and attention woven into every space and the whole garden literally vibrates with all that is good. We felt it such an intoxicating environment, overflowing with creativity from yourselves. The people that we met were so warm and welcoming. We wanted to say a BIG thank you for what you have created and how it pulls people together & raises money for such a worthy cause.”

Sadly, for those that have not seen the garden, you will have to wait until 2019, as Driftwood is now closed until June 1, 2019.

The grand total of all monies raised now by Geoff in the last few years is a staggering £114,000.

To read more about his fundraising and gardening achievements, click here: 

Scene Magazine