The Happy List 2017: The Independent launches its search for the UK’s most inspiring people

Nominations are now open to find 50 outstanding unsung heroes and heroines who enrich the lives of others

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To mark International Day of Happiness today, The Independent is opening nominations for our selection of the 50 people whose kindness, bravery and dedication help to make the UK a happier and more caring place.

The Happy List was set up in 2008 by The Independent as an antidote to the greed-driven celebrity rich lists. Rather than celebrate privilege and wealth, The Happy List seeks to shine a light on people whose extraordinary efforts are for no personal gain, and who have often gone unrecognised outside their own communities.

After a break last year, the Happy List is now launching its ninth edition, in partnership with This May we will publish the names of 50 of those who have been nominated by you (click here to nominate someone now)

They could be charity fundraisers, foster parents, environmental campaigners, emergency services workers, or simply those who have done extraordinary things to help others. Previous years have included children raising money for charity, Britain’s oldest barmaid and volunteers working with recently arrived refugees.

In a world awash with negativity and fake news, it’s time to tell stories that truly deserve to be told.

The Editor of The Independent Christian Broughton says: “We're thrilled to bring back the Happy List. The current climate of fear, mistrust and negativity means it's arguably more important than ever to celebrates the inspirational people whose kindness, ingenuity and bravery make the UK a better place to live.”

The Happy List 2017 recognises diffuse achievements and activities, and while it would be impossible to rank them, this year for the first time there will ‘hero’ categories highlighting some of many the ways Happy Listers help improve life. These will include Community Champion, Animal Saviour, Child Hero, Planet-Saving Tsar and Positivity Coach. 

Adventurer and motivational speaker Danny Bent appeared on the Happy List in 2015. Danny says: “I've raised over £500,000 for charity and I'm currently organising the first ever 30,000km global running relay ( but being on the Happy List is the thing I feel most proud of to date. It’s the recognition that you may be poor in pocket, but you are rich in life. This is the award every human being should be pushing for, not the rich lists like most do.”

For the second time, The Independent is partnering with the social-giving platform JustGiving on the Happy List. To mark our new partnership, JustGiving is creating a special award for one Happy Lister, to be announced at a glittering ceremony being staged in London.

This will be voted on by you, our readers, from those highlighted in the Happy List’s ‘hero’ categories who also have a JustGiving page. The winner will be announced at the JustGiving 2017 Awards in November.

Charles Wells, Chief Marketing Officer at JustGiving, said; “We are excited to once again be partnering with The Independent for this year’s Happy List. At JustGiving we're delighted to be supporting this year's Happy List. Millions of ordinary people use JustGiving to make good things happen. It's an honour to celebrating these people and share their stories..”

What makes the Happy List so special is that the nominations are made by you. Unlike lists that produce catalogues of the moneyed, everybody knows someone who does the most amazing things for others. Whether that’s with foster children, the elderly, wildlife, those at risk of loneliness or simply by doing some small act to make their community happy. Please, tell us about them.

How to nominate

We need your help to find those who deserve to be celebrated. All we require are a few details about the individual you are nominating - including their name, a way to contact you (or them) – and the reason why you’re putting them forward.

Nominations from all corners of the UK, all cultural backgrounds, and people from all parts of the community are welcome. Please nominate online by clicking here.

Or post yours to: Emma Ledger, Happy List Coordinator, Room 121A, First Floor, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry St, London, W8 5HF

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You have until midnight on Friday 28 April 2017 to nominate. The selected entries will be revealed on The Independent in May. Individuals cannot nominate themselves.