Green-fingered Geoff brings a smile to the face of Prince Charles

Geoff Stonebanks meets The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace
Geoff Stonebanks meets The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace

Local man Geoff Stonebanks attended a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Prince of Wales, Patron of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The event recognised and thanked exceptional volunteers for their life-changing contributions to helping people living with cancer.

The reception focused on the contribution these supporters have made, and celebrated the vital role volunteers play at Macmillan.

Geoff, gardener and active fundraiser for the charity, said he felt extremely lucky to have attended the prestigious event.

He raises money for The Macmillan Horizon Centre, more than £54,000 to date, through events in his own garden, Driftwood at Bishopstone, and by single-handedly organising the annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail between Brighton and Seaford.

Geoff said he brought a smile to The Prince’s face by telling him of a trick he had picked up for his own garden after a visit to the royal home at Highgrove a couple of years ago.

The Prince had some large urns at the back of the house which were looking a little faded and tired. As Geoff watched on, a couple of gardeners came up with a tractor and trailer loaded with pots of perfectly primed tulips, just about to burst into flower.

They lifted out the tired, inner container from the urn and replaced it with one of tulips – causing instant impact!

This is something that Geoff now adopts, not on such a grand scale, in his own award-winning garden each season, where he has more than 200 different containers.

Geoff said of the reception: ”This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and so totally unexpected.

“Never ever did I imagine I would visit Buckingham Palace and engage in conversation on one of my favourite pastimes with The Prince of Wales, utterly magical. Thank you Macmillan!”

Read more of Geoff’s garden and his fundraising at