Seaford gardener and charity fundraiser named a Coronation Champion near 70th birthday

Geoff Stonebanks in his garden, DriftwoodGeoff Stonebanks in his garden, Driftwood
Geoff Stonebanks in his garden, Driftwood
Seaford gardener and charity fundraiser, Geoff Stonebanks, has received an an extra special 70th birthday present by being named as a Coronation Champion.

In honour of Their Majesties’ service to the country, Royal Voluntary Service launched the Coronation Champions Awards for volunteers, an official Coronation project.

Together with Her Majesty The Queen Consort, the awards celebrate extraordinary volunteers across the country who have been contributing to their communities.

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The awards include thousands of people, aged from 14 to 103, from all over the UK and supporting a range of causes who were nominated and from these nominations, 500 volunteers have been hand-picked by a judging panel presided over by the Queen Consort, and crowned Coronation Champions.

Geoff said: “I was completely blown away to learn on April 25 that I had been selected as one of the Coronation Champions. I celebrated my 70th birthday on the April 21, the date of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthdate and this news was a real shock. Even more so when I learnt it also included an invite to Buckingham Palace on the 9th May to The King's Coronation Garden party.”

All 500 Coronation Champions will receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a signed certificate from His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort and are invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party.

Geoff has given many volunteering hours between 2012 and 2023 to Macmillan Cancer Support, organising, recruiting gardens, risk assessing, maintaining trail web site, marketing & publicising annual event, £109K raised to date. He has also volunteered for the National Garden Scheme since 2010, opening his garden (£31K raised to date) and fulfilling role as Publicity Officer and Assistant County Organiser. Additionally, he has raised a further £21k for other charities.

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Geoff said: “I believe I have demonstrated a proven track record, at work and now in retirement of being passionate and committed to everything I engage with. I am a self-starter, single-handedly creating two garden trails for Macmillan and Seaford Mayor, engaging fully with the community to support charities.”

In 2018, the Mayor of Seaford awarded Geoff the “Don Mabey Award”, recognition given to one person in the town each year who has made a significant difference, with the citation saying it is for services to the community.

In 2020, the Chairman of the National Garden Scheme awarded him the “Chairman’s Award” for his exceptional contribution as a volunteer for going that extra mile.

In 2022, Lynda Thomas, then CEO at Macmillan, said: “We are inspired by your energy and drive in organising annual event. We appreciate the huge amount of publicity and interest you have created, which has helped to raise crucial awareness of the charity and the work we do. All of us at Macmillan are truly grateful for your unwavering support and commitment over the past 12 years. We simply wouldn’t be able to do whatever it takes for people living with cancer without your support.”

You can read more of Geoff’s charity volunteering at