The IoS Happy List 2012 - the celebrities who inspire


Rebecca Adlington

This, the first British swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the ever-smiling face of the athletes who will, we're confident, make us all proud at London 2012.

Sir David Attenborough

Probably the man who would, were we suddenly a republic, win any vote hands down to be president of the country. Few people have ever so successfully combined education and entertainment.

Clare Balding

The doyenne of British sports broadcasters, she is a model of informed enthusiasm whenever she appears on screen (and off it, too). Has been successfully treated for thyroid cancer.

Camila Batmanghelidjh

This daughter of a Catholic and a Muslim is the founder of Kids Company, which cares for vulnerable and troubled youngsters in Britain. And if that does not make us happy enough, her colourful outfits always will.

Cerrie Burnell

Presenter of CBeebies who puts a smile on the face of our under-fives. Born with a left arm which ends at the elbow, and unable to read until the age of 10 because of dyslexia, she is an inspiration.

David Hockney

Britain's greatest living artist. His recent exhibition of landscapes lifted all our spirits. His draughtsmanship and use of perspective and colour make him a perfect antidote to the banalities of "art" installations.

Monty Panesar

One of the very few world-class cricketers to look as if he is actually enjoying himself, this bowler – born to Punjabi Sikh parents in Luton – is probably the most popular player in the country.

Chris Powell

Manager of Charlton Athletic, the first senior British football club to achieve promotion this season, he is immensely popular wherever he goes and could well, in the future, be the first black England manager.

Timothy Spall

Now approaching national treasure status, this actor has survived leukaemia and his good, strong heart shines through everything he does – including navigating his boat around Britain in the company of his wife Shane.

Victoria Wood

For many years one of the most witty Britons, she is probably the funniest vegetarian in the world. Writer, director, singer, composer, actress – is it fair that one person has so much talent?