Heroic Garden Festival director retiring with terminal cancer has 'no fear of dying'

Geoffrey Marshall is the director of an Auckland garden festival, but after a terminal cancer diagnosis, he is stepping away from the role after this year.

The Heroic Garden Festival has been going for 23 years, opening the gates to some of Auckland's most beautiful private gardens to ticket-holders on Friday.

With Mr Marshall stepping down, the festival won't continue after this year.

Despite his diagnosis, he told The AM Show on Monday he doesn't fear death.

"No. I'm not scared of dying; it worries me not at all."

Choking back tears, he said he does fear saying goodbye to his partner.

"The only worry I have about dying is leaving my partner here all alone.

"Other than that, I don't give a stuff. I have no fear of dying myself."

Mr Marshall has been its director for over two decades, and said gardening was a form of therapy for him, even before his diagnosis in August.

"Gardening's always been therapy for me  I've been working on gardens for 34 years."

He says he plans to do more travelling with his partner, but isn't sure it'll be possible until 2020 because of his treatments.

"The big thing in life apart from work is travel, and my partner and I, since he retired, every year we go away once or twice and I just want more time to travel."

Proceeds from the festival are going to Mercy Hospice, a fitting tribute to Mr Marshall's decades of work.


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