The blossoming of a very special relationship

Macmillan 35 year partnership
Photo above: Lynda Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Cancer Support, Angela Azis, former Chairman and Trustee of the National Garden Scheme and George Plumptre, CEO of the National Garden Scheme Photo: John Goodman


On July 23rd, the National Garden Scheme and Macmillan Cancer Support celebrated an exceptional 35 year partnership that has generated £17.2 million to support people living with cancer. A gathering at the Garden Museum in London brought together today’s partnership team along with many who were working for the charities in 1984.

Former Chairman and Trustee of the National Garden Scheme, Angela Azis, spoke of the decision making process and how Macmillan was first invited to be a beneficiary of the National Garden Scheme in 1984. With its ethos to support nursing at home and in the community, Macmillan seemed like ‘the perfect fit’ for the Scheme and £35,000 was raised in the first year. Few could have predicted how the relationship would blossom and become one of the most enduring and successful UK charitable partnerships.

“Our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support has improved the lives of thousands of people living with cancer. Not only have we funded 150 Macmillan nurses but with our funding also helping to open care units in Bristol and Chesterfield and a new specialist palliative care unit in South Wales, we will continue to provide a legacy of care for decades to come,” says National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre. “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all our garden owners and volunteers who have contributed to this amazing success.”

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Our partnership with the National Garden Scheme has raised an astounding £17.2 million in the 35 years we’ve been working together, which enables us to be right there with people living with cancer from the moment they’re diagnosed. Since 1984, we’ve been bringing people together to enjoy the tranquillity of outdoor spaces with their loved ones, while raising money for a vital cause. We look forward to continuing our work together to support the growing number of people living with cancer.”

George Plumptre and CEO Macmillan

George Plumptre and Lynda Thomas who presented the National Garden Scheme CEO with a special partnership award celebrating 35 years Photo: John Goodman

Mary Berry, President of the National Garden Scheme, adds:  “As President of the National Garden Scheme I am enormously proud of the remarkable amounts of money that our garden openings have helped generate for nursing and health charities. I have always believed that gardens and garden visits can have positive health benefits and this partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support is the living embodiment of that.”

The gathering at the Garden Museum in Lambeth brought together fundraisers including Geoff Stonebanks whose garden openings alone have raised £70,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, Sal Renwick who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had an operation just a few weeks before her garden opening for the National Garden Scheme. There were also key nursing and fundraising personnel who are working on the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit in Wales which is due to open later this year and to which Macmillan and the National Garden Scheme have each contributed £2.5million.

Some key milestones in the partnership include:

The National Garden Scheme invites Macmillan Cancer Support to be a beneficiary, raising £35,000 for Macmillan in the first year.

The National Garden Scheme wins the Macmillan Champion Award for Groups and Associations– celebrating 20 years of helping Macmillan support people affected by cancer.

The National Garden Scheme supports Macmillan’s Move More initiative, encouraging people living with and beyond cancer to get active through gardening.

The National Garden Scheme donates £500,000 to help fund the NGS Macmillan Wellbeing Centre at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

Macmillan and the National Garden Scheme celebrate over £15 million raised since the beginning of their partnership

The National Garden Scheme raises a record-breaking £3.1 million and begins an annual funding programme to support gardens and health-related projects

The NGS Macmillan Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital opens its doors to people living with cancer in North Derbyshire

Building begins for the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit in South Wales

The National Garden Scheme pledges £2.5 million to the build of the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit

National Garden Scheme support has funded 150 Macmillan nurses and other professionals supporting an estimated 28,000 people affected by cancer

Discover more about the partnership here

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Our donations in 2023

Donor 1
Donor 2 £450,000
Donor 3 £450,000
Donor 4 £450,000
Donor 5 £425,000
Donor 6 £350,000
Donor 7 £350,000
Donor 8
Donor 9 £100,000
Donor 10 £90,000
Donor 11 £80,000
Donor 12 £281,000
Donor 13 £260,000