Macmillan Coastal Trail 2019
by Geoff Stonebanks
The Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail, which took place over the weekend of the 27th and 28th July, was the best ever trail over the 8 years on several levels. Geoff said, “Despite the poor weather on the Saturday, which saw TV gardener, Christine Walkden and Macmillan’s Head of Volunteer Development, Ruth Leonard deliver their speeches in the rain, while the assembled 40 present stood in my garage, we raised well over £9,000 for the charity.”
21 gardens opened over the 2 days, 11 brand-new to the trail. Two of the favourites based on feedback given to Geoff were the walled garden in Bishopstone and a new garden in Saltdean on Wivelsfield Road.
Ruth Leonard said, “Every day, 28 people in Sussex hear the devastating news that they have cancer, with more than 10,000 people diagnosed every year and it is expected that the amount of people living with and beyond cancer in Sussex will be 95,000 by 2030. 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. Geoff has singlehandedly raised nearly £80,000 for the Horizon Centre through his Driftwood Fundraising Group Committee; including £54,000 from this amazing Macmillan Coastal Garden trail alone. We hope to continue to inspire people like Geoff and others to donate, volunteer and campaign so we can be right there for years to come.”
Christine Walkden also loved the day and spent 7 hours with Geoff at Driftwood and visiting 3 of the other gardens too. She said “What is really obvious from all the gardens that opened is the very hard work and effort that everyone puts in to make the day a success. It’s not just this effort but the emotional journey that takes place for everyone involved. From despair to success when a visitor turns up. The gardens, all in their own way were special and really worth seeing. What an amazing effort from all involved. I admire the determination, flair and love that is shown in each garden.”
Geoff confirmed he has already had 3 more brand-new gardens put their names forward for the 2020 event, which will be held on the weekend of the 25th and 26th July, read more details about the 2019 event at www.macmillangardentrail.co.uk