Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): The full list of people who make life better for others

Smile, please! David Randall introduces 100 people, nominated mostly by readers, who enrich the lives of others

Welcome to the seventh annual Independent on Sunday Happy List – 100 people who, without thought of personal gain, give back and help others, rather than themselves.

Founded as an antidote to all those rich lists and celebrity lists, it celebrates a different set of values, embracing those who start charities, help troubled youngsters, give huge amounts of time to volunteering and raising money, foster children, care for wildlife, and much more.

This year, the Happy List includes: a 93-year-old who has raised more than £100,000 for Age UK by dressing as a bee; a teacher who donated a kidney to one of his pupils; the world’s oldest barmaid; the limbless Plymouth man who founded a charity to help other amputees; the London woman who founded a pop-up restaurant that employs only refugees and migrants; a couple who set up a bereavement service for parents who have lost a baby; and the heroic lollipop lady of Rhoose. In addition 10 well-known names have been highlighted for their efforts. People like Tom Daley, a role model for other young people wanting to announce they are in a same-sex relationship, and Charlie Webster, the sports presenter who ran 250 miles in seven days for charity.

And this year, for only the second time, we’ve included a posthumous entry. The remarkable Stephen Sutton was on our list but died just as it was being finalised. We have kept him in – our tribute to a hugely impressive young man. These 100 entries are the result of much rewarding research. The big thrill for us was the almost overwhelming number of nominations from readers. The Happy List is now very much a joint venture between the paper’s journalists and readers. Our desire to show a cross-section of talents and locations meant some worthy nominees had to be left out. The chosen 100 will now be invited to a party in their honour. This will provide the opportunity to meet - and celebrate their contribution to making Britain happier. 

Read more - Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014
Tom Dowling, community journalist
Nikandre Kopcke, social entrepreneur
Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew, charity founders
Robert Williams, kindness giver
Dolly Saville, legendary barmaid
Martin Griffiths, surgeon/lecturer
Jean Bishop, buzzing fundraiser
Aneeta Prem, anti-slavery campaigner
Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile

Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 - in full

Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew

Charity founders

Carmel, from London, founded the  Kiss it Better appeal after her daughter Josephine was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital for neuro-blastoma, a rare childhood cancer. Ten years on, Josephine is a healthy 12-year-old, and the pair have raised £800,000 for cancer research.

Renny Antonelli

Campaigner

Renny Antonelli, from Peterborough, and his daughter, Sophie, co-founded the Green Backyard, a group of volunteers who transformed a derelict site into a community allotment. They work with disadvantaged young people and help protect the garden, which is under threat from developers.

Fatima Ayub

Volunteer

The mother-of-five has been a tireless fundraiser for Islamic Relief and other causes. She is also part of a Muslim group that tackles domestic abuse by getting Yorkshire mosques and imams to join their campaign, and has led a breastfeeding project for the NHS.

Shahid Azeem

Community galvaniser

Lacking any qualifications, Shahid founded successful IT businesses, and has used his skill and money for the wider good. He rescued Aldershot Town Football Club, making it a community hub, and provides a package of free services and mentoring for start-up businesses in his area.

Oli Barrett

Social entrepreneur

London-based Oli is founder of Cospa, which helps companies and good causes to make money and make a difference. Two examples: with a DIY chain, Cospa helped youngsters fix their own youth clubs; and the Tenner project challenged children to see what they can achieve in a month with £10.

Jaime Bautista

Charity founder

Colombian-born Jaime, from London, founded the SMart Network in 2000. It gives homeless and socially excluded people job opportunities as well as the chance to develop their performing arts skills. Jaime has struck up partnerships with the British Museum and Tate Britain.

Ben Bell

Charity founder

Ben, a youth worker from north London, set up Urban Hope nearly 20 years ago to help young, underprivileged people in Islington and Hackney. Today, supported by Children in Need and others, the charity offers a range of activities to 150 disadvantaged youngsters every week.

Sandie Betts

Trainer

Thirty years ago, Sandie’s daughter was born with multiple disabilities. Ever since, she has run the Riding for the Disabled Association group from her Lincolnshire farm. Despite requiring stem cell treatment, Sandie teaches children from special needs schools in the area how to ride.

Jodi-Ann Bickley

Happiness spreader

A tick bite led to encephalitis and a stroke, leaving this author from Birmingham unable to walk or write. She learnt to write again, and now, via her website, onemillionlovelyletters.com, spends her time writing cheering notes to all those who ask for one. And thousands do.

Daniel Black

Inspiration

A cycling accident in 2009 left 25-year-old Daniel from Chepstow, Wales, wheelchair-bound. He raised £20,000 for treatment needed for him to walk again, but when he heard about Brecon Vaughan, a six-year-old with cerebral palsy, he gave the money to him instead.

Sue Brett

Local inspiration

When Sue from Maidenhead founded Open Kitchen in 2010, her plan was to feed homeless people. The charity now also aids job hunters, provides equipment, gives Christmas presents and more. The Brett Foundation, Sue’s new charity, will help these extra acts of kindness.

Mark Brown

Campaigning editor

A company director from Brockley, south London, who edits One in Four, a magazine for people with mental health difficulties. Mark, who suffers from bipolar disorder, also created DocReady, a digital tool designed to help young people daunted by their first visit to a GP about mental health.

Sue Bunn

Youth leader

Sue, from Leeds, took over as leader of 1st Gildersome Brownies at the age of 18. Apart from a year off to have a baby, she has led the pack ever since, for 42 years. She saved a man’s life last year after he had a bike accident, administering first aid before paramedics arrived.

John Burkhill

Fundraiser

John, 75, has pushed a pram around the streets of Sheffield for 20 years – sporting a green wig and a giant foam hand – and raised £250,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. He continued despite losing his wife and daughter to cancer, and was given the Douglas Macmillan Award in January.

Linda Bussey

Fun-run organiser

Linda balances her life as a mother-of-two and NHS manager to  co-ordinate the Park Run in her town of Bradford on Saturday mornings. She set up the initiative four years ago to encourage more participation in running, and now more than 350 people take part each weekend.

Hayley Carr

Role model

Student Hayley runs a summer school, Lauriston Lights, for children struggling academically in Hackney, east London. She has held fundraising events to help with running costs, and her nominator says: “She is the most positive, driven and inspiring person I have ever met.”

Jo Carrick

Artistic director

Jo founded the theatre group Red Rose Chain after the Ipswich serial murders, and works with drug users to stage productions that help to tell their stories. The success of her show Different Buttons led to a tour in 2013, and this year, the group unveiled plans for a new £1m theatre.

Zoe Clark-Coates

Charity founder

Mother-of-two Zoe suffered five miscarriages within three-and-a-half years. The trauma she underwent, and the realisation that no support for people in her position existed, motivated her and husband Andy to set up the charity Saying Goodbye, to help grieving parents.

Al & Paula Coates

Adoption champions

Al and Paula, from Cramlington, became foster carers after adopting two sisters in 1999. They now have six children, and spend their free time championing adoption and offering advice to couples considering adopting. Their nominator says: “They are an inspiration”.

Ray Coe

Organ donor

Ray, a teacher from Newham, east London, learnt that one of his students, 13-year-old Alya Ahmed Ali, needed a life-saving kidney transplant. When blood tests proved that Ray was a match, he agreed to donate a kidney. The transplant was successfully carried out in February.

Alf Collington

Foodbank founder

When businessman Alf retired and began to notice the poverty in Falkirk, he was compelled to set up a foodbank in 2012. Starting life in his kitchen, it has grown rapidly, distributing 10.5 tons of food to date. Alf has eight volunteers and sometimes works 80-hour weeks.

Mary Cook

Community cook

Fifteen years ago, the local council for Mary’s village, Ramsbury, Wiltshire, ended its meals-on-wheels service. This led to Mary starting an independent charity, for which she cooks and delivers hot meals around the community. She also co-ordinates a volunteer-led library. 

Kenneth Davidson

Crimestopper

This father-of-four from Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne, has a history of being vigilant. In 1998, his bravery was recognised after he trapped armed robbers inside his bus and drove them to police. Last year, he received a second bravery award for chasing and detaining a burglar.

Gina Davies

Speech and language therapist

Gina, of Guildford, Surrey, is a speech and language therapist who has created a unique approach: ''attention autism''. Her nominator says Gina “deserves recognition for the independence that she engenders amongst some of our most vulnerable, anxious and confused children”.

Becca Dean &  Charly Young

Mentors

On International Women’s Day 2013, Becca and Charly, who have both taught in London schools, launched  The Girls’ Network. It offers young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds mentorship from women across a range of professions. They are now rolling the scheme out in cities across the UK.

Beth Doherty

Nature volunteer

Looking to create an alternative to the busy indoor playgroups in Portishead, Somerset, Avon Wildlife Trust volunteer Beth set up Portbury Wharf Nature Bugs. She runs themed walks that encourage pre-school children to explore nature through stories and creative activities.

Tom Dowling

Community journalist

Tom, a Liverpudlian born and bred, was left wheelchair-bound after he was struck by a stray bullet in Iran. A former journalist for the Liverpool Echo, he now runs a free newspaper for the disabled in the North-West entitled All Together Now, which he delivers personally to local hospitals.

Jean Bishop

Buzzing fundraiser

Known as the Busy Bee throughout east Yorkshire, 93-year-old Jean began raising money for Age UK Hull 14 years ago after her husband died. She wears a bee costume (made by her daughter) while rattling her tin, and has so far collected over £100,000.

Andrea Coleman

Biker extraordinaire

Andrea, from Northamptonshire, has led Riders for Health, a social enterprise that uses motorcycles to deliver healthcare in Africa, since 1990. She and her husband Barry have transformed healthcare in seven countries with the initiative. Andrea won the Barclays Women of the Year award last year.

Laura Ede

Body image promoter

This police officer from Portishead, Somerset, launched Girlguiding’s new body confidence badge, which aims to boost the self-esteem of 400,000 young women by the end of 2016. Laura’s Free Being Me programme challenges unrealistic images and ideals and promotes body confidence.

Ray Edwards

Charity founder

Ray, from Plymouth, lost both his arms and legs after contracting septicaemia in 1987 but refused to let this limit him. He founded Limbcare, a charity dedicated to offering advice and support to amputees – as well as their families and carers – to help them overcome the challenges they face.

Gordon Evans

Sports organiser

Gordon founded Stafford Town Football Club in 1976 and has been chairman ever since. He has overseen remarkable growth of the Staffordshire club, which now comprises senior men’s and women’s teams, numerous youth teams, and three disability teams.

Efe Ezekiel

Youth mentor

From Hackney, east London, Efe sets an example both in her family and the community. Having helped her single mother raise her twin siblings, TV producer Efe continues mentoring young people through her movement Ushine Ishine, creating documentaries to showcase their talents.

Kate Ferguson

Charity lynchpin

Kate, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, is regarded as “the face, the voice and the driving force” of Brainwaves NI, a charity that offers support to those affected by brain tumours. She was made an MBE in the 2014 New Year honours list, after dedicating two decades of her life to the cause.

Francesca Findlater

Rehabilitator

Four years ago, Francesca, a London businesswoman, started Bounceback, which helps rehabilitate prisoners. The project’s success – 90 per cent of participants avoid trouble when out of prison – inspired Francesca to open a training centre for former prisoners, in Brixton.

Mike Foster

Scout leader

Mike, from Headcorn, Kent, became scout leader at 18 to save his beloved 1st Headcorn scout group from closure. That was 50 years ago, and he has led them ever since, working every day, and being a major player in raising £357,000 for a new hut.

Jane Fowler

Fundraiser

A multiple sclerosis nurse at Hull Royal Infirmary, Janet has been raising money for 10 years to aid MS charities. She has brought in around £10,000 through bike rides, including cycling across Cuba on her honeymoon, and continues a one-woman fight against the disease, at work and from home.

Len & Carol Fowler

Helping hands

Len and Carol, from Blackpool, and their five children became homeless after following the collapse of their holiday-flat business. Ten years after getting back on their feet, they run a centre, The Well on Queens Park estate, which offers food and shelter for the homeless in their hometown.

Hannah Gibbon

Financial saviour

Hannah, an independent financial advisor, opened a foodbank in Gillingham, Dorset, when she discovered people were going hungry. She also runs a debt advice centre in her local church, and launched Open Door Café, where people struggling with debt can have coffee, cake and a chat.

James Gilley

Social motivator

London-based James founded and runs SPAT, a charity that provides fitness coaching, after a friend died of a drug overdose. The charity helps young people by boosting their social skills and self-esteem;  91 per cent of people who complete the programme then find training or employment.

Sophie Goddard

Disability worker

A sufferer from Usher syndrome, which affects hearing, vision and balance, Sophie has one goal: to help others. A Londoner, for seven years she has been a support worker at Sense, which aids people who are deaf and blind. She goes soon to India and Peru, to work with deaf-blind people.

Marc Grayston

Karate coach

Balancing a family of five and a job in the City, Marc runs Maru Karate Kai, a non-profit karate club in Basildon, Essex. He teaches 60 children, some from disadvantaged backgrounds, after receiving funding from BBC Children in Need, as well as holding self-defence classes for women.

Jane Halpin and Denise Armer

Charity founders

Mothers of disabled children, Jane and Denise from Lancaster founded Unique Kidz and Co in 2009 after being unable to find specialist childcare. The charity provides parents and carers with the chance to return to work, spend time with other family members, or simply take a break.

Thomas Holt

Volunteer

Thomas, a student at Edge Hill University, volunteers at Country Holidays for Inner City Kids (Chicks), a camp for children who are not lucky enough to enjoy a family holiday. His efforts to help young people led to him being 2013 National Student Volunteer of the Year.

Alan Hughes

Rural campaigner

Alan represents all those saving our countryside. When Somerset said it would sell tracts of the Quantocks, Alan, chairman of Friends of Quantock, and his team of volunteers fought the plan. They were successful and became custodians of the Over Stowey Custom Common and Thorncombe Hill.

David Hughes

Fundraising fancier

David, from Wrexham, raises money for Hope House Children’s Hospice by an unusual method. He is a pigeon fancier, and through raffles, races, and pigeon auctions, David has raised more than £86,000 for the hospice in 12 years.

Kim Kalan

Underground artist

Kim, customer service assistant at Caledonian Road Tube station, north London, brightens up the ticket hall with whiteboard drawings. Kim draws up to two a week in her breaks or at the end of her shifts. Her Mona Lisa is among works bringing daily smiles to the faces of commuters.

Stuart Kettell

Innovative fundraiser

One of Macmillan’s wackiest fundraisers. Stuart, from Balsall Common, West Midlands, has generated over £31,000. In 2013 he walked every street in Coventry on a pair of stilts, and this year he plans to push a Brussels sprout up Mount Snowdon with his nose.

Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy

Volunteer ranger

This law lecturer from Sheffield devotes her free time to being a volunteer ranger in Peak District National Park. One of her most valuable contributions has been promoting the use, and appreciation, of the park to ethnic minorities. She also campaigns on environmental issues.

Susan Lloyd-Selby

Mother Christmas

Susan, from Glamorgan, South Wales, started a project called Big Wrap in 2007 to give presents to children who wouldn’t receive Christmas gifts. She struck up partnerships with organisations such as Cardiff City FC, whose donations enabled her to hand out 1,800 parcels last year.

Colin Magee

Sailing coach

Colin, a sailing instructor from Burbage, Leicestershire, has dedicated almost 50 years to getting youngsters into sailing. The driving force behind the Leicestershire and Rutland Sailing Association, he offers free tuition, and also works closely with autistic and visually-impaired children.

Habib Malik

Relief fundraiser

Habib, who has lived in Scotland for 34 years, is the country’s manager of Islamic Relief’s Disaster Emergency Committee. He has worked for charity in both Scotland and beyond, helping to raise thousands for those affected by disaster. He recently took park in a charity ride from Glasgow to Pakistan.

Nic Marks

Workplace improver

The founding director of Happiness Works, a research company which focuses on well-being in the workplace, Nic created the Happy Planet Index, the first global measure of sustainable happiness. His “five ways to wellbeing” used by the NHS, schools, charities and others, include Be Active and Connect. 

Rita Marley

Volunteer

Rita, a part-time care support worker from Brighton, is one of St John Ambulance’s most remarkable characters. She manages the Portslade and Shoreham unit near Brighton, and, in 38 years of volunteering, has devoted more than 18,000 hours to first aid and saving lives.

Colin Marvell

Job finder

After a banking career, partially-sighted Colin, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, was unemployed at 50. His struggle to find another job prompted him to launch Inspire4Work, a charity that helps the older unemployed gain new work. He also organises soul music events in aid of charity.

Jamie McDonald

Superhero

Hospital-bound for much of his childhood, Jamie, a former tennis coach from Gloucester, decided to give back to charities that had supported him. He ran across Canada dressed as superhero The Flash, becoming the first man to complete the coast-to-coast run without support and raised over £60,000.

Jo McQueen

Dedicated nurse

A sister on the cardiac ward at the Royal Sussex Hospital, Brighton, Jo often does 13-hour shifts and offers to work nights so others are spared. She set up Sunday Assembly, a non-religious event that brings 200 people together. Her nominator says: “She makes people happy and saves lives.”

Richard McShane

Football leader

Richard, from Glasgow, set up Easterhouse Phoenix, a football team that unites young gang members from the area. The scheme has contributed to a drop in gang crime locally, and now the young men are working together to convert a disused library into a community centre.

Martin Griffiths

Surgeon lecturer

Martin, 46, a trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, has spent the past decade visiting schools to lecture on the dangers of carrying weapons. He also works with young Londoners in Enfield under the council’s “call-in” scheme, which gives a second chance to offenders facing court.

Nikandre Kopcke

Social entrepreneur

Nikandre, based in Hackney, east London founded pop-up restaurant Mazi Mas late last year. Mazi Mas (“with us” in Greek) employs and trains only refugees, migrants and women cooks, serving several different venues and events a year across London.

Libby Meyer

Volunteer

For eight years, economic adviser Libby, from London, met a young man with Asperger’s every fortnight as part of the National Autistic Society’s befriending scheme. She helped him overcome his fear of the world and when the scheme folded due to lack of funding last year, Libby continued to support him.

Rose Monson

Hospice volunteer

Rose has volunteered at Trinity Hospice in Clapham, south London, for nearly 20 years. She regularly buys flowers at her own expense to brighten up wards, and also brings in her dogs when patients are missing their own pets. Her nominator says: “She unselfishly gives care to others.”

Doreen Mooney

Community worker

Doreen is a key player in the New Heights community project, set up by a church to tackle anti-social behaviour in Kingstanding, Birmingham. She has helped to develop a community café and led fundraising for a new community centre. A volunteer said: “She would do anything for anyone.”

Merrill Nelson

Foster parent

Merrill, a retired nurse from Wolverhampton, has been fostering and supporting vulnerable young people with her husband, David, ever since the couple’s five children left home. They have taken in 30 youngsters in 17 years, including a homeless teenager from Uganda and a baby with burns.

Elle-Mae Netherton

Melodious helper

Elle-Mae, 13, from north London, lost her mother as a baby and was raised by her grandmother. Her grandfather, who she called Dad, died recently, but Elle-Mae, who helped nurse him, remained strong, performs excellently at school, serves in church, and also with a hearing and signing choir.

Maggie Norris

Theatre founder

Maggie founded The Big House Theatre Company last year. Using her experience of working with ex-offenders and vulnerable youngsters, Maggie is able to help those at risk of social exclusion in east London. Through theatre, the Hackney-based organisation develops its members’ life skills.

Andrea Parkin

Animal rescuer

Andrea from Sunderland set up her charity, Animal Krackers, in 2002. As well as overseeing the charity’s shop and caring for her elderly parents, she works tirelessly for the city’s abandoned animals, rescuing and re-homing them and doing everything possible to improve their lives.

Eirlys Penn

Needlewoman

Eirlys, a former PR consultant from London, runs a social enterprise in Bath called The Big Mend, encouraging people in her vicinity to sew. She also runs a blog by the name of Scrapiana to promote her campaigns such as Fine Cell Work, which trains prisoners to undertake skilled needlework.

Harriet Pocock

Caring performer

When this performing arts graduate from Weston, Bath, lost her job at a care home firm, she set up The Cat’s Whiskers Tea Dance Company. Her sessions at care homes give residents a chance to sing, dance, reminisce with old photos, and hear poetry readings. Her nominator says: “She brings joy.”

Aneeta Prem

Anti-slavery campaigner

Aneeta was instrumental in the rescue of three women from a house in Lambeth, south London, after 30 years of servitude. Her charity, Freedom, was contacted after one of the captives saw Aneeta on television. She gained their trust and aided their escape.

Jimmie and Rosie Reid

Squirrel saviours

This couple own four acres of woodland near Dundee, and they have turned them into the Muirhead Red Squirrel Sanctuary. They alone finance this vital haven for the threatened red squirrel, an achievement all the more remarkable for the fact that Rosie has multiple sclerosis.

Bob Riley

Volunteer

Bob, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, has volunteered for Macmillan Cancer Support for no fewer than 35 years. He is the treasurer for his local Macmillan committee and in the summer of last year, Bob received the Sir Hugh Dundas award, the most prestigious accolade for a Macmillan volunteer. 

John Roberts

Life-saver

John, from St Martin’s, Shropshire, is a voluntary Community First Responder. He is quickly on the scene of an emergency, provides basic life-support if needed, prepares for the arrival of the ambulance crew, and comforts worried relatives. He has attended more than 1,500 emergencies since 2001.

Angela Rodriguez

Volunteer

Having come through a suicidal crisis herself, Angela, from north London, started volunteering seven years ago  at Maytree, which offers the suicidal a safe space to talk in a calm, caring environment. Now an operations co-ordinator there, she “goes beyond the call of duty”, her nominator says.

Janice Rosser

Chat host

Janice Rosser from Hereford cares full-time for her 92-year-old mother, but also hosts oapschat.co.uk, a website she set up in November to provide a forum for people over 55 to chat and connect with each other. Run on a voluntary basis, it also focuses on issues affecting older people.

Tina Selby

Knitter

Tina, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, founded Hats4Heroes in October 2010 and, with the help of knitters from across the UK, has since sent over 13,500 woolly hats to British service personnel in Afghanistan. In January she was awarded a British Empire Medal for her efforts.

Peter Shelton

Theatre director

In his home town of Matlock, Derbyshire, Peter produced a theatre project called First Movement, which reaches out to disabled adults using performance arts. More than 7,000 people took part in his workshops until he was forced to step down due to illness this year.

Charlie Simpson

Fundraising cyclist

Charlie, aged 11, from west London has been raising money for international children’s charity Unicef since he was seven. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he cycled round his local Fulham park seven times. Word of this feat spread, meaning he eventually raised a massive £260,000.

Ravi Singh

Hands-on helper

In 1999 Ravi, from the Thames Valley, founded the Sikh humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid. It has been on missions to Albania, the Philippines, Haiti, and this winter he spent two months helping in the worst affected Somerset flood areas, rescuing villagers and salvaging belongings.

Jessamine Skuse

Fire heroine

When Jessamine from Bristol noticed smoke billowing from under her neighbour’s door, the then 91-year-old had no hesitation in bursting in to save him. She heaved her neighbour, 97, into a shopping trolley and wheeled him to safety before calling 999.

Tony Smith

Radio host

Tony from Havant, Hampshire, set up Angel Radio – a station for and run by older people – in 1999. The station provides a lifeline for the lonely and elderly. More than 90 volunteers are involved, most aged 60 or more. Many learn from Tony to produce their own programmes.

Caz Steffens

Home-town helper

Caz founded The Snooky Trust in 2007 to support young people with illnesses in Dawlish, Devon. Her charity shop helps fund the trust, helping to pay for people’s rent, mobility equipment, and more. Caz also endeavoured to aid all victims of the storms that recently hit Dawlish.

Tony Stevens

Volunteers’ mentor

Former teacher Tony established The Daneford Trust in 1982 to help London’s youngsters raise money so they can travel to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean to volunteer as teachers and community, health and social workers. Still the trust’s co-ordinator, he has raised thousands.

Marian Stringer and Neville Mizen

Brainteasers

Marian and Neville from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, have raised over £400,000 for a wide range of charities with their brainteasing Rainbow Puzzles. Every six months, the pair release a new, fiendishly difficult cryptic puzzle and ask those taking part to donate at least £1.

Naomi Thomas

Charity founder

In 2009, Naomi, from Wellington, Somerset, was diagnosed with cancer two days after becoming engaged. A wedding planner volunteered to organise her ceremony and, inspired to do the same, Naomi set up the Wedding Wishing Well, which plans and funds weddings for the terminally ill.

Claire and David Thompson

Fundraisers

Claire and David from Newport, Wales pledged last year to raise £50,000 to fund a Macmillan nurse for a year – so far the couple have raised over half. Despite busy careers they have climbed Kilimanjaro, run marathons, and do bucket collections every weekend.

Sheila Thorpe

Charity helper

Sheila, aged 86, from London has volunteered for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s charity since it was founded over 25 years ago. She goes into the office every week, helping out in every way. The charity said it was “incredibly grateful for her hard work and kindness.”

Greig Trout

Life enhancer

This double cancer survivor is currently drawing up a list of “101 things to do when you survive” in the hope he can inspire others to beat the disease. There are 67 entries so far, ranging from learning the guitar to hiking in the Rockies, many of which Greig, from Dumfries, has already done.

George Trubody

Floods rescuer

When Kingsand and Cawsand in south-east Cornwall was battered by huge waves earlier this year, local councillor George was key to making sure no lives were lost. The former fisherman risked his life rescuing residents who had become stranded and helped organise the emergency response.

Jason Venables-John

Volunteer

Jason, a 19-year-old student from Fishguard, south-west Wales, gave up 1,000 hours of his time in just one year to volunteer for St John Ambulance, Wales. Jason, who has also travelled to Africa to teach first aid, was given the Sovereign’s Award at Buckingham Palace earlier this year.

Jane Ward

Theatre director

Charity director Jane from Wolverhampton founded Central Youth Theatre in 1983 and has since nurtured the creative talents of youngsters, aged eight to 25, many of whom have gone on to forge careers in the arts. She has also organised fundraising in the face of government cuts.

Heather Wheeler

Hospice hairdresser

Heather has been cutting hair free at the Katharine House Hospice since her father died there two years ago. When a resident is too ill to move, the hairdresser, from Rugeley, Staffordshire, gives them a morale-boosting trim in bed. Heather, family and friends have also raised £20,000 for the hospice.

Trina Whittaker

Mental health activist

Trina has been campaigning for Rethink Mental Illness for a decade, and runs arts groups in Braintree, Essex, for those with mental health issues. She also runs a group specifically designed to support carers. Her nominator praised the difference she had made to so many lives.

Sarah Wilkins

Life coach

A sufferer of lymphoma – a type of blood cancer – Sarah, from Buckinghamshire, decided to share her knowledge with other sufferers. While she underwent chemotherapy, Sarah became a life coach and set up www.sarahssecretcancer.com, which gives advice to those struggling to deal with cancer.

Dr Peter Wilkinson

Cycling cardiologist

This cardiologist from Windsor has completed nine overseas cycle rides in the last 20 years, raising more than £20,000 for the British Heart Foundation. Peter has cycled the 24-mile round trip to work for most of his career and plans to cycle along the Kenya’s Great Rift Valley soon.

Karin Williams

Lollipop lifesaver

This lollipop lady, from Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, was escorting children across the road when an out-of-control car hurtled towards them. Karin threw herself in front of the car, taking its full impact and breaking her elbow, shoulder, legs and ribs – but saving the children’s lives.

Margaret Williams

Christmas giver

In 1999, Margaret, from Flint, Flintshire, founded North Wales Superkids. The charity, which buys Christmas presents for disadvantaged young people, gave gifts to 1,365 youngsters last year. Margaret also helps arrange pantomime trips, craft clubs and discounted holidays for families in need. 

Robert Williams

Kindness dispenser

Robert helped set up The Kindness Offensive, a group which carries out “random acts of kindness” across London, from delivering Christmas gifts to the underprivileged to handing out chocolate to passers-by. One nominator said Robert has “a real impact” on Londoners’ happiness.

Dolly Saville

Centenarian bartender

One hundred years of age and a great-great-grandmother, Dolly, from Wendover, Buckinghamshire, is known as the “oldest barmaid in the world”. She has been pulling pints at the Red Lion Hotel for 75 years and still does three shifts a week. Dolly says she has no plans to retire.

Stephen Sutton

Leaves a life-changing legacy

After being told his colorectal cancer was incurable in January 2013, 19-year-old Stephen raised £3.2m for the Teenage Cancer Trust. However, Stephen’s condition deteriorated shortly after being nominated for the Happy List, and earlier this month he died. The total raised for TCT now nears £4m. Stephen’s funeral is on Friday at Lichfield Cathedral.

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The Happy List is primarily made up of individuals nominated by you, our readers. This year we had an extraordinary response, with hundreds more submissions than ever before. Thank you for your support. Profiles compiled by  Joe Krishnan and Jochan Embley. Picture research by Simon Lord.

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HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

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Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?