The IoS Happy List 2010

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While others produce catalogues of the wealthy, heirs and heiresses, and the bonus-baggers, David Randall introduces our third annual list of those who give, rather than make or take

Today we publish the third annual
Independent on Sunday Happy List. It is our antidote to all the rich lists, celebrity lists, and wealth leagues which worship at the shrine of billionaires, mega bonus-takers and their conspicuous spending. The Happy List celebrates different values, and names 100 people who give back, volunteer, and who make Britain a better balanced, happier country.

Our 100 include extraordinary individuals such as the antique clock repairer and his friend who set up an organisation that has raised many millions for charity; the woman who brought the idea of ethical gifts to Britain; the country's happiest museum curator; scientists who have brought the fascinations of their speciality to a wider audience; charity founders; outstanding laughter-makers; the world's oldest abseiler; campaigning conservationists; medical pioneers; performers of impromptu acts of bravery; people who have given decades of volunteer service; inspiring teachers and musicians; remarkable doctors and athletes; and scores of otherwise ordinary citizens who have made a difference to the lives of those they help.

There are some well-known names who have done much to make Britain a happier place who are not on the list. Some, like Sir David Attenborough, have appeared on previous lists and our policy is that, unless someone has made an exceptional new contribution in the previous 12 months, they will not be on subsequent lists.

We have made a special effort this year to include, over the next six pages, those who, although operating at a very local level, represent hundreds of thousands giving similar service around the UK. Latest research shows that around 40 per cent of adults gave some sort of unpaid help to a group, club, charity, or organisation in 2008-2009. These are the citizens who prove that Britain is, in many ways, already a Big Society, to use a phrase in present use.

The 100 names on this year's list are the result of our own researches, nominations from readers, and from national organisations. The following were especially helpful: the Heritage Lottery Fund, Barnardo's, Christian Aid, National Trust, Save the Children, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and Amnesty International. There are bound to be some outstanding individuals not included. If you would like to nominate someone for the 2011 Happy List you can do so at the top of this page, by emailing us at, or by writing to: The Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF.

We hope you enjoy the Happy List. We think you don't necessarily need to flirt with piousness to find that the people on it are an important aspect of the real wealth of this country.

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