A KEEN gardener has raised a staggering £72,735 for charity in seven years by inviting the public to view his award-winning gardens.

Geoff Stonebanks has opened his colourful beach garden 'Driftwood' - overlooking the sea in Seaford - 108 times since 2009 with 13,487 visitors.

Among the charities to benefit include The Macmillan Horizon Centre due to open shortly in Brighton, The Sussex Beacon, RNLI and St Wilfrid's Hospice.

He said: "Of course I am very proud to have raised such a large amount, it is very important to me.

"It gives me great pleasure to invite people into my garden so they can enjoy it too, and supporting charities at the same time.

"For me the garden comes alive when people are in it, they are the final ingredient."

His latest opening was in aid of Sussex-based charity Family Support Work when BBC Sussex's gardening expert Jean Griffin was also on hand to offer advice.

Geoff said: "In total, 134 visitors came to see the garden that day - many for the very first time - and they were enthralled, based on their comments in the visitors' book.

"One lady, Gina Coleman, had travelled from Ham, near Richmond, by public transport, for a second time, having done the same last summer.

"And she wrote, 'Lovely to see you again Geoff and your wonderful garden. Even though I knew what to expect this time when I went down the side of the house it was still such a 'wow' moment seeing all the beautiful plants and shrubs. All are in such perfect condition and clearly so happy in their positions'."

Driftwood will be open as part of the Lewes District Council Artwave Festival, which runs late August and early September.