A PROLIFIC gardener and fundraiser was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet HRH The Prince of Wales.

Geoff Stonebanks from Seaford attended a reception organised by Macmillan Cancer Support, for which Prince Charles is a patron.

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.

Mr Stonebanks said he felt extremely lucky to have been invited.

He said: “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!”

Mr Stonebanks raises money for The Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton.

So far he has raised more £54,000 through events in his own garden, Driftwood, and by single-handedly organising the annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail between Brighton and Seaford.

He said: “I brought a smile to the Prince’s face by telling of a trick I had picked up for my own garden, Driftwood, after a visit to 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 I 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.

“Instant impact! This is something I now adopt, not on such a grand scale, in my own award-winning garden each season where I have more than 200 different containers.

“The Prince smiled.”

You can read more of Mr Stonebank’s garden and his fundraising at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk