Reg charity: England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604).

LAST UPDATED 4th October 2020
The 2021 trail will take place on the 24th & 25th July

Never before have Macmillan needed our donations more!
After the devastating pandemic of 2020 and the significant drop in their much needed income to support those suffering with cancer, any donations you are able to offer can be made by clicking below.

Despite the problems in 2020, the group raised over £4000 for Macmillan, thanks primarily to Group Chair Geoff Stonebanks, Jan Wilks, Stanford & Cleveland Community Garden, 11 Rugby Road and the virtual tour garden trails.

You can still view these short virtual garden films here.

In early 2021, we will determine whether we will be able to hold the event as planned in July.
We currently have a list of 42 garden owners that have opened over the years for the trail and we will be asking each if they wish to open again in July 2021.

Please contact Geoff Stonebanks, the organiser, for more information on the event or if you would like to support Macmillan by opening your own garden in 2021.

Below, our Patron, Christine Walkden, cutting the ribbon to open the 2019 trail at Driftwood with trail organiser, Geoff Stonebanks and Ruth Leonard (Head of Volunteering Development at Macmillan).

The generous people of Sussex raised £3.7m to help fund the building of the Macmillan Horizon Centre, but more is still needed. The running costs of the centre are covered by Macmillan Cancer Support, and services provided by a team of skilled local volunteers. Macmillan is funded solely by donations and the running costs of the centre are over £650,000 per annum. All monies raised from this trail will support Macmillan in it's operation.

All the monies raised from entrance fees to the gardens, monies raised by selling raffle tickets, along with the proceeds from the sales of teas and coffees will go towards maintaining and operating the new Cancer Support Centre in Brighton. Any stalls operated in the gardens will donate a percentage of their proceeds to the charity as well.

In addition to the monies raised on the trail Geoff Stonebanks also raises money for Macmillan through income from private visits to his own garden, Driftwood throughout the Summer, through raffle of artist donated pieces and proceeds from the sale of tea and cakes at many charity openings. Over £85000 raised to date!

In December 2017, trail organiser, Geoff Stonebanks, received an invitation from Buckingham Palace. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles invited him to a reception for Macmillan Cancer Support in January 2018. Macmillan said it was a thank you for him having made a significant difference to the charity and to those suffering with cancer! Read all about his experience visiting the Palace here.

It was an amazing evening for Geoff at Buckingham Palace, in January 2018, meeting His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, at a reception for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Geoff has attended a Macmillan Executive Team Meeting in the Horizon Centre, Brighton where The Trustees and Board met with groups of volunteers and staff at the centre and heard direct from Geoff about his fundraising work with the charity, both the trail and other events in his own garden Driftwood. He can be seen here with Chief Executive of Macmillan, Lynda Thomas prior to the meeting.

Ruth Leonard, Head of Volunteering Development at Macmillan Cancer Support said at the opening in 2019, "Fundraised income makes up 98% of Macmillan’s income, which means the dedication and generosity of our supporters like Geoff is absolutely essential to changing the lives of people living with cancer. Thanks to the effort of such incredible fundraisers we raised a tremendous £230.8 million in 2018. It is 2.5 years since we opened our dedicated Information and support centre in Brighton, the Horizon Centre and since its launch it has supported 100’s of people living with cancer in Sussex, to live life as fully as they can. Geoff has singlehandedly raised nearly £80 thousand for the Horizon Centre through his Driftwood Fundraising Group Committee, including £53,000 from this amazing Macmillan Coastal Garden trail alone. Geoff, on behalf of Macmillan, I’d like to say thank you."

Christine Walkden's horticultural knowledge, combined with her obvious passion for gardening is what has made her a TV and radio favourite, and The One Show’s resident gardening expert, along with being a regular pannelist on Gardeners' Question Time. Autumn 2014 saw her in a 15 part series on BBC1 called "Glorious Gardens from Above". Christine said "I support cancer charities as we have had problems in the family so I know myself what people go through and also how its upsets families as well. I just hope it may help you." See Christine's web site HERE.

Surprisingly the BBC2 series Christine did a few years ago, Christine's Garden is not available on DVD but you can see them all on YouTube for free. Check them out HERE!

In 2019, Christine generously agreed to travel to Sussex to open the event in the award winning garden of organiser, Geoff Stonebanks. She said "Opening gardens and sharing them with others is a great treat for all. It generates a sense of community, camaraderie and interest in the beauty that gardeners create. I am thrilled to continue as patron for the fifth year, especially having seen it first hand."

Christine goes on to say "There are probably umpteen better gardens down my street, but it doesn't bother me - I'm not competitive or pretentious. I don't want a showcase garden. It's the relationship I have with my garden that matters."

Christine can be seen above in Geoff's garden with 2 visitors.

Over £85000 has now been raised by Geoff's Driftwood Fundraising Group since 2012!

In September 2016, Geoff and some of his garden supporters, were invited to a preview of the centre and were amazed to find that Driftwood Fundraising Group was listed on the roll call of supporters who have raised money for the centre. Sussex Committees have raised over £1.1 million and Driftwood £85000 of that.

Please contact Geoff Stonebanks, the organiser for more information on the event.