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

LAST UPDATED 21st January 2021
The 2021 trail is planned to take place on the
24th & 25th July

No decisions have yet been made on holding the event in 2021. The dates have been set but the plan is to contact potential garden owners to see if they would like to participate, once the current lockdown has ended and we have some idea of how the rest of the year might play out. As things stand that may now not be until March.
We currently have a list of 42 garden owners that have opened over the years for the trail who we will be approaching. If the event goes ahead, we will not be producing a costly booklet of gardens this year, instead a single A4 sheet with all gardens listed. Please keep checking back for more details!

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.

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.

£4243.53 raised in 2020 & £348.75 carried over to 2021 fundraising.

Despite the problems in 2020, the group raised almost £4600 for Macmillan, thanks primarily to Group Chair Geoff Stonebanks's online fundraisers for his birthday and virtual tour of his Christmas decorations. Jan Wilks made and sold face masks in the first lockdown, Stanford & Cleveland Community Garden sold plants all summer, Beryl Brown made and sold gorgeous Christmas cake and Adam and Dan from 11 Rugby Road made a good donation too. All this in addition to the monies raised from the virtual tour garden trail tours.

You can still view these short virtual garden films here.

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.