The IoS Happy List 2008 - the 100

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George Webster and Sophie Davies present profiles of 100 people who make Britain a better and a happier place to live. If you would like to nominate someone for The Happy List click on the related article for the nomination form


The Happy List was compiled with advice and nominations from the following organisations: Institute for Philanthropy, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Association of Charitable Foundations, Muslim Council, the Beacon Fellowship, the Department for Culture and Media, Impetus Trust, Dreams Come True, the National Lottery, the Church of England, the Community Channel, Institute of Fundraising, the Carnegie Trust, National Trust, the Charity Commision, British Association of Social Workers, various national and community award schemes (from Pride of Britain to Harrow Heroes), Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and Greenpeace. Special thanks are due to Joanna Bale from the Local Government Association and Musa Okwonga from the Institute of Philanthropy.

The 10 areas in which our chosen 100 excel are: Mental well-being, Physical health, Philanthropy, Charity, Pleasure, Environment, Innovation, Volunteers/time givers, Community service, Entertainment

Ade Adepitan; Wheelchair basketball star and TV presenter

Area of excellence: Pleasure

He has one of the smiliest faces on television – and one of the most unusual backgrounds for a presenter of programmes such as 'Holiday'. A survivor of polio as a child, he became a wheelchair basketball champion, winning gold for Great Britain at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup. He is patron of several disability charities.

Henry Allingham; Britain's oldest man

Area of excellence: Community service

The dignity of this 111-year-old serviceman has made the nation very proud. One of the few surviving fighters of the First World War, he fought in the Battle of Jutland and at Ypres. In 2003, he was awarded France's highest military honour, the Legion D'Honneur. He has outlived his wife by more than 35 years.

The Rev John Aldis; Founder of the Street Angels

Area of excellence: Community service

Volunteers in purple jackets can be spotted in Watford city centre between 9pm and 3am. The Street Angels provide a smile and a caring presence to all from the troubled to the trouble-makers. This simple provision has reduced violent crime by nearly 40 per cent and earned its founder a Crime Beat award.

Shaun Bailey; Co-founder, My Generation

Area of excellence: Charity

This former youth worker co-founded a charity that tackles problems such as anti-social behaviour and drugs. He wrote 'No Man's Land: How Britain's Inner City Young Are Being Failed' and is a media spokesperson for the disadvantaged. He is also Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Hammersmith, west London.

Paul Bain; Co-founder, Emmaus in UK

Area of excellence: Charity

With his wife Jane, this former policeman was captivated by the idea from France of a charity that would provide a supportive environment for the homeless while they, in return, work renovating and selling furniture. Now there are 14 Emmaus communities in the UK, giving homeless people the chance of a fresh start.

Duncan Bannatyne; Multimillionaire charity-giver

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

The 'Dragons' Den' tycoon has an estimated worth of £200m and has vowed to give away his fortune. Bannatyne, 59, who made his money from the leisure club industry, has said Britain's rich don't do enough for good causes. The twice-married father of six has said that the best reason for making money is to give it away.

Daniela Barone Soares; Impetus Trust

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

After a decade in the finance industry, Ms Soares turned her business acumen to charity. She headed institutional fundraising at Save the Children UK before joining venture philanthropists the Impetus Trust in 2006. The trust supports charities over a three- to five-year period, providing strategic funding and expertise.

Diana Barran; Action Against Domestic Abuse

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

A former hedge fund manager, Ms Barran set up the pioneering scheme, Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse. Special case workers co-ordinate services so that victims can remain safe in their homes. Since it began in 2004, the incidence of injury and assault to women in pilot areas has fallen by two-thirds.

Camila Batmanghelidjh; Director of Kids Company

Area of excellence: Charity

She is known as the Angel of Peckham for her work with vulnerable young people. The daughter of a wealthy Iranian entrepreneur and his Belgian wife, she was schooled in England. In the 12 years since Kids Company's modest beginnings under a Peckham railway bridge, she has raised more than £20m.

Biddy Baxter; 'Blue Peter' editor

Area of excellence: Entertainment

Her imagination and hard work for 26 years from 1962 established this innovative TV show as a standard-setter in children's broadcasting. She introduced the 'Blue Peter' badge to encourage children to send in ideas, pictures and stories. The now-legendary 'Blue Peter' appeals were also started under her editorship.

Trevor Baylis; Inventor of the wind-up radio

Area of excellence: Innovation

His inventions are born from a desire to help the disabled and the dispossessed. Orange Aids promote function in those with lost motor skills, his electric shoes can charge a mobile phone battery for those without an electricity supply, and his wind-up radio, integral to the spread of Aids awareness in Africa, has saved innumerable lives.

Phil Beadle; Teacher and author

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

John Humphrys called him "one of the very best teachers in the country". Viewers of television's 'The Unteachables' saw him motivate students who had previously been indifferent to learning. Formerly a teacher in inner London, he has been helping to raise achievement among under-performing white working-class boys.

Tim Berners-Lee; Inventor of worldwide web

Area of excellence: Innovation

Sir Tim's invention 19 years ago has revolutionised the way people communicate. The British scientist, who was working at a particle physics institute in Geneva at the time, originally conceived of his new hypertext program as a tool to aid scientific research. There are now thought to be more than 100 billion websites.

Steve Binns; Liverpool historian

Area of excellence: Community service

With more than 2,000 biographies of local people in his repertoire, Mr Binns' vivid city tours have earned him the title of "greatest living Merseysider". Not bad for a man who has been blind since birth. Mr Binns, however, refuses a guide dog – "I wouldn't want him getting all the credit".

Megan Blunt; Author and charity campaigner

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

A 16-year-old bone cancer survivor, she is the author of 'Chemotherapy, Cakes and Cancer', an A-Z guide for children living with cancer which includes tips for treatment and easy definitions of medical terms. As well as studying for her GCSEs she is also a young people's ambassador for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Happyfacts:

Giving to charity not only assists others, it also helps you to feel better about yourself, research has found. A Canadian study of how people spent their company bonuses, published in 'Science' magazine, reported that those who gave some or all of it to charity or to others had greater feelings of well-being than those who spent it on themselves.

And there is a clear gender divide on who donates most to charity. The UK Giving 2007 report, based on data collected by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charities Aid Foundation, found that 62 per cent of married women give to good causes, compared with just 44 per cent of single men. Men were more generous when they lived with a partner, with 52 per cent of them giving. Medical research is the most favoured cause, receiving 17 per cent of all money given.

Ian Botham; Cricketer and fundraiser

Area of excellence: Charity

The former England cricketer has raised more than £10m for children's cancer charities, completing 11 long-distance charity walks. His first walk was a 900-mile trek from John o'Groats to Land's End in 1985. Inspiration dates back to a visit to a Taunton hospital where he met children with only weeks to live.

Ruth Cadbury; Chair, Barrow Cadbury Trust

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Cadbury's is responsible for more than chocolate. Presiding over the trust established by her great-great-grandfather, Ms Cadbury has invested £4m over the past year in grassroots schemes that have reduced poverty, built bonds between different ethnic groups and helped young people to move away from gangs and crime.

Tommy Callagher; Milkman and fundraiser

Area of excellence: Community service

Known as "Liverpool's milkman", he has been rising at 3am six days a week for the past 30 years, during which time he has delivered more than two million pints of milk. He continues despite a knee operation and two cataracts, and has raised more than £100,000 for the British Heart Foundation in his spare time.

Liz Carnell; Founder of Bullying UK

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

Launched after her son suffered from bullying at school, charity Bullying UK receives calls from up to four suicidal children a day. Website bullying.co.uk receives more than 500,000 visitors a year. Ms Carnell, a journalist, speaks at major anti-bullying conferences all over the UK and works, among other things, to combat cyber-bullying.

Richard Carr-Gomm; Founder, Abbeyfield Society

Area of excellence: Community service

After leaving the Army in 1955, he became the first male home helper. He used his £250 army gratuity to buy a house and establish the Abbeyfield Society, a national charity to house lonely, elderly people and help them to maintain independence. Since then he has also founded the Carr-Gomm Society and the Morpeth Society.

Pamela Cook; Founder, Cantamus Girls Choir

Area of excellence: Pleasure

A leading authority on vocal and choral techniques, she set up the distinguished Cantamus Girls Choir in 1968 in Nottinghamshire. Vice president of the Association of British Choral Directors alongside John Rutter and Brian Kay, she is especially celebrated for her work with female voices.

Edward Joseph Cooper; Secret Santa

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

For more than five decades Mr Cooper has been anonymously giving gifts to thousands of underprivileged children in Northern Ireland at Christmas time. At Easter, he donates hundreds of chocolate eggs to the orphaned. He began buying gifts as soon as he started his first job, at the age of 14.

Gordon Conway; Applied ecologist

Area of excellence: Environment

Sir Gordon set up the UK's first master's degree in environmental technology. As president of the Rockefeller Foundation, he restructured funding to focus on fighting poverty as well as launching a programme to feed the world through biotechnology. Also chief scientific adviser to the Department for International Development.

Bruce Crowther; Fairtrade pioneer

Area of excellence: Environment

Thanks to local vet Mr Crowther, Garstang, a small market town in Lancashire, can claim to be the world's first Fairtrade town. Ninety per cent of its shops and cafes are now Fairtrade, and Garstang is twinned with the cocoa-farming community of New Koforidua in Ghana, with which a direct trading link is planned.

John Cunningham; Charity fundraiser

Area of excellence: Charity

A retired painter from Durham who has raised more than £1m for charity, walking more than 100,000 miles in the process. He began in 1986 with a 1,000-mile marathon – since then he has covered many long-distance walks including Land's End to John o'Groats. Has also collected for charity at a local supermarket for 29 years.

Richard Curtis; Writer, charity campaigner

Area of excellence: Entertainment

Writer of hit television series such as 'Blackadder' and films such as 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', he is just as famous for his passionate charity work. A co-founder of Comic Relief, which has raised £337m for the disadvantaged, he launched the Make Poverty History campaign and organised the Live8 Concerts with Bob Geldof.

Ken Deeks; Vice-President, NCH

Area of excellence: Charity

A former marketing consultant, Mr Deeks founded the innovative fundraising event Byte Night, which last year raised more than £340,000 for National Children's Homes. One night a year, members of London's IT sector sleep outside to raise money for the needy and underprivileged young people.

Ken Dodd; Comedian

Area of excellence: Entertainment

Now a national treasure, he has been entertaining audiences with his quick-fire and perfectly-timed wit for more than 60 years. His old-fashioned variety style of entertainment remained popular as the comedy landscape changed. His shows often over-run, proving that giving happiness is his motive, not merely money.

Jim Dowdall; Community worker

Area of excellence: Community service

He has spent years promoting health and well-being in Thornhill, near Southampton. Since recovering from a stroke 12 years ago, he has been involved in local initiatives including the Healthy Communities Project and Thornill Plus You. Now 82, he has run the London Marathon five times, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Bill Dunster; Eco architect

Area of excellence: Environment

One of our most innovative architects, he specialises in low-energy and sustainable development. Bill Dunster Architects is responsible for the pioneering BedZED project, a carbon-neutral eco-community near Wallington, Surrey. Materials for the development were either recycled or locally sourced.

James Dyson; Inventor, Dyson cleaner

Area of excellence: Innovation

One of the UK's most successful inventors, who stumbled across the idea for a bagless vacuum cleaner while renovating his house. The first model went on sale in 2003 and became the fastest-selling vacuum cleaner in this country. He has since become an active champion of design that puts function ahead of appearance.

Michael Eavis; Founder Glastonbury Festival

Area of excellence: Entertainment

Probably Britain's most-loved dairy farmer, he has been hosting the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset since 1970. In those days, a ticket cost £1, with a pint thrown in – now it's closer to £160. A discriminating fellow, he has been known to turn down acts as big as George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

Mark Ellingham; Founder of Rough Guides

Area of excellence: Pleasure

Unlike most, Mr Ellingham left university in 1981 with a definite plan. His 'Rough Guide to Greece', written with the woman who became his wife, Natania Jansz, was spotted by Routledge and became an immediate hit. More countries were added and there are now more than 30 million copies of Rough Guides worldwide.

Val Finigan; Breastfeeding expert

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

In her time as infant feeding co-ordinator at the Pennine Acute Trust, breastfeeding rates have doubled at the North Manchester General Hospital and the Royal Oldham Hospital. A midwife, she has set up a clinic for babies who cannot breastfeed because of problems with their tongues.

Ram Gidoomal; Christmas Cracker charity

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

Combining fundraising and youth education, his novel charity saw child volunteers set up restaurants using donated food – raising more than £500,000 for development in India. Motivated by this success, they set up newspapers and radio stations. The former businessman was shocked into action after visiting a slum in India.

Happyfacts:

Some 27 per cent of Britons regularly volunteer with a formal organisation, charity or local group. According to data published by the Institute for Volunteering Research, the causes that benefit most are: education – schools, colleges, universities (31 per cent); religion (24 per cent); and sports, exercise or "health and disability" (both 22 per cent). The institute adds: "The largest proportions of activities were: 'raising, handling money' (65 per cent) and 'organising, helping run an event' (50 per cent)." The most active regular volunteers are 16- to 24-year-olds (43 per cent), followed by 55- to 64-year-olds (42 per cent), and the over-65s (41 per cent). Women are more likely to volunteer than men, and the regions with the highest percentage of volunteers are the West Midlands and South-west, with the lowest being Yorkshire and the North-east.

Olivia Giles; Charity campaigner

Area of excellence: Charity

She has raised close to £500,000 for meningitis charities and increased public awareness of the disease. A former partner in a large law firm, she contracted the blood-poisoning form of meningitis six years ago, leading to the amputation of her hands and feet. She has co-founded the charity 500 Miles to help amputees worldwide.

Donald Gordon; Arts philanthropist

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Last year Donald Gordon donated £20m to the Royal Opera House and the Wales Millennium Centre – one of the largest amounts in the history of UK arts giving. He is chairman of the property giant Liberty International, and has a £500m fortune. Shakespeare's Globe and the British Museum in London have also benefited in the past.

James Alexander Gordon; Announcer

Area of excellence: Pleasure

For 35 years James Alexander Gordon has been reading the football results on BBC radio, on Radio 2 and currently on Radio 5 Live. His voice is so distinctive that students in Sweden use it to practice their inflexion. However, as a child he endured polio, spent a lot of time in hospital, and suffered from a speech impediment.

Antony Gormley; Sculptor

Area of excellence: Pleasure

His Turner Prize-winning work is among the most celebrated of modern sculpture. 'The Angel of the North' in Gateshead and 'Another Place' on Crosby Beach have become local landmarks. After reading anthropology at Cambridge, he led a hippy existence in India for three years before resolving to become an artist.

Polly Gowers; Co-founder of Everyclick

Area of excellence: Innovation

The chief executive of Everyclick is a web expert with a difference. Every click on search engine everyclick.com raises money for charity. Revenue is generated by advertising on the site, and half of monthly revenue goes to charity. If everyone who used Google swapped over to everyclick.com, the charity world would be transformed.

Susan Greenfield; Brain scientist

Area of excellence: Physical health

A leading expert on the physiology of the brain, Baroness Greenfield also knows how to communicate with a lay audience. She has written many popular science books, including 'The Human Mind Explained'. Her research centres on areas of the brain common to those areas affected in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Dave Green; Coach

Area of excellence: Physical health

Born before the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Dave Green went on to serve in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He is currently coaching athletes for the 2012 Olympic Games, in East London. He has coached at the same local athletics club, the Newham and Essex Beagles, for 52 years and counting.

Anthea Hare; Richard House Hospice

Area of excellence: Physical health

Childcare pioneer who founded the first children's hospice in London, which provides support for 150 families at a time. A former paediatric nurse, she was inspired to set up Richard House by her work with children, and also by the experience of growing up with her brother Richard, who was autistic and who died at 26.

Brian Haw; Peace campaigner

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

Since 2001 Haw has been camping out in Parliament Square, London, as part of his campaign for peace. The former carpenter says his children's need for a better future motivates him. He was granted permission to stay in the square in 2005, after new restrictions on unauthorised protest around Parliament were brought in.

David Hockney; Painter

Area of excellence: Pleasure

Hockney's vibrant paintings are among the most admired works of contemporary art. He studied at the Royal College of Art and was associated with British Pop Art in the 1960s; some of his later works have been influenced by Picasso. He recently donated his largest canvas, 'Bigger Trees Near Warter', to Tate Britain in London.

Chris Hohn; Venture philanthropist

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Has turned the cut-throat end of the finance industry – hedge fund management – on its head to create a new and highly effective method of "intensive giving". Last year, the Children's Investment Fund generated £230m for good causes, making it one of Britain's largest charities and Mr Hohn Britain's most astute philanthropist.

Robert Holden; The Happiness Project

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

Psychologist, author and broadcaster who has coached many of the UK's leaders in business, healthcare, education and sport. Dr Holden has given training seminars to some of the country's biggest organisations, but he also works with hospitals and charities. He has written 10 books, including the best-seller 'Success Intelligence'.

Bob Holman; Social worker and academic

Area of excellence: Community service

Committed to children's well-being, Holman has helped thousands of young and underprivileged people. He left academia in 1976 for a more hands-on approach to social reform. He moved with his family to Bath's notorious Southdown estate, where he began project work with the young. He is also a prolific charity fundraiser.

Kelly Holmes; Athlete

Area of excellence: Charity

The former army sergeant was middle- distance favourite when she crashed out of the 1997 World Championships with a ligament injury. Seven years later, having overcome depression and self-harm, she won two gold medals at the 2004 Olympics. Now retired, Dame Kelly devotes her time to sports mentoring schemes and to charities.

Valerie Howarth; Charity worker

Area of excellence: Physical health

While Baroness Howarth was chief executive at ChildLine, more than a million children received counselling, and the small London-based charity went national. A former social worker, she was made a life peer in 2001. She uses her membership of the House of Lords to give a voice to disabled and vulnerable children.

Iain Hutchison; Oral and facial surgeon

Area of excellence: Physical health

One of the UK's leading reconstructive surgeons, he established the Facial Surgery Research Foundation, Saving Faces, in 2000. He founded the UK Oral Cancer Research Group and led surgeons into schools as part of the "Save your face, drink sensibly" campaign in the 1990s to raise awareness of the effects of drunken violence.

Tom Hunter; Greatest giver

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland's wealthiest man, will not be the richest in the graveyard, having pledged £1bn to various charities. It is Britain's largest ever single donation. The son of a grocer, he began his career selling trainers from the back of a van, but now he says: "Philanthropy is the only motivator to continue making money."

Norman Jay; DJ

Area of excellence: Pleasure

Jay has been at the forefront of British club and black music for the past 20 years. During a visit to New York in 1979, he played his first street party and, on his return, built the legendary Good Times Sound System which soon attracted crowds of thousands. With fellow DJ Gordon Mac he set up Kiss FM radio station in 1985.

Alec Jeffries; Inventor of DNA testing

Area of excellence: Innovation

Justice and personal security rank above luxury and convenience, according to an "Innovation by the Nation" poll. Sir Alec, for his creation of the first DNA fingerprint, came out as top Briton in the poll, which asked people to name the most important innovation in the past 50 years. Sir Alec is a professor of genetics at the University of Leicester.

Mandy Jetter; Refugee allotment co-ordinator

Area of excellence: Community service

Inspired by her father, a refugee from Nazi Germany who became a community leader in the East End of London, Mandy's project aims to integrate war-fleeing refugees in the North-east through gardening. Those who have been dislocated from their previous lives are given a platform on which to establish new community ties, while the act of planting new life carries important symbolism.

Happyfacts:

Why is laughter the best medicine? A hearty laugh will engage every muscle, nerve and organ in the upper body. Laughing releases the body's natural opiates and its pain reliever, beta endorphins. The thymus gland, responsible for your immune system, is stimulated by the facial muscles when laughing. In the chest, laughter releases antibodies in the respiratory passage that protect against viruses while also increasing T-cells. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase while you laugh, but fall below normal levels when you stop. So laughing ultimately lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It causes the diaphragm to convulse and improves circulation. According to Professor William Fry of Stanford University, laughing 100 times a day is the cardiovascular equivalent of 10 minutes' rowing. It is no surprise that depressed people are three times more likely to get ill.

Clare Parry-Jones; Clown doctor

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

Aka Dr Ding Dong. Each week she dons a red nose, purple hair and a giant turquoise stethoscope to administer the best medicine. One of Britain's longest-serving clown doctors, she visits more than 4,000 children a year, is a specialist and teacher of drama therapy, and adapts her play according to a child's personality, age and illness.

Helena Kennedy; Lawyer and social campaigner

Area of excellence: Physical health

A leading criminal barrister, Baroness Kennedy has devoted her career to fighting social injustice. At 24 she established a new set of chambers, Garden Court, specialising in sex discrimination and domestic violence. She later did the same for human rights. Has written radical books, 'Just Law' and 'Eve Was Framed'.

Alan Kenny; Disabled dance teacher

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

Alan Kenny is probably one of the most energetic wheelchair users anywhere, teaching dance to others with similar disabilities. He aqua dives as part of a specialist team that teaches disabled people deep-sea diving. He has featured on Comic Relief wheelchair dancing with youngsters with learning disabilities.

Bessie Kemp; Dance teacher

Area of excellence: Physical health

The 85-year-old has just taken off her dancing shoes for the last time, having taught traditional Scottish dancing in Stockton-on-Tees, five days a week, for 55 years, after she moved to Stockton from Aberdeen. In this time the mother of two, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of seven has not missed a single lesson.

Richard Layard; Happiness economist

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

An economist at the London School of Economics, Lord Layard is active in many happiness-promoting initiatives such as improving the emotional aspects of children's education. He is at the forefront of happiness research, arguing that an important purpose of taxation is to help preserve a healthy work-life balance.

Michelle Lewis; Charity fundraiser

Area of excellence: Charity

Lewis is barely able to walk – she has badly deformed feet, legs and hips – and she has endured more than 28 operations, but self-pity is not her style. Brought up by her grandparents to believe that others are worse off than she is, Lewis has raised more than £1m for charitable causes, including Macmillan nurses and Alder Hey Hospital.

Kirsteen Lupton; Charity fundraiser

Area of excellence: Charity

Kirsteen Lupton, 14, was born with her bladder outside her body. Despite more than 15 major operations and having to use a catheter for the rest of her life, she remains resilient and optimistic. Lupton, from Glasgow, fundraises for Great Ormond Street and other organisations, and once raised £20,000 in 10 minutes.

Buster Martin; UK's oldest known employee

Area of excellence: Community service

Quite possibly the gamest old man in Britain, he has found fame as a van cleaner, as a member of chart-topping band the Zimmers and as an agony uncle for men's magazine 'FHM'. Until last year he had never taken a day's sick leave in 90 years and – more incredible still – at the age of 101, he smokes and drinks every day.

Alastair MacEwen; Wildlife cameraman

Area of excellence: Pleasure

Former chairman of the International Association of Wildlife Filmmakers, and still on its committee, he is regarded as one of the best in the business. His dedication saw him spend three weeks up a 30m bamboo tower in the Amazon. We have him to thank for some of the most beguiling shots in 'Planet Earth', 'Life in Cold Blood' and 'Natural World'.

Birdie McDonald; Foster mother

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

She is the ultimate supermum who has fostered so many children she finds it hard to keep count. She has looked after more than 850 children in north London, over more than 32 years. Her inspiration dates back to 1973 when she saw a TV programme detailing the chronic shortage of foster parents for black children.

Peter Morson; Local regeneration

Area of excellence: Environment

This former miner and chairman of Dordon's parish council in Warwickshire created more than 1,000 jobs in a major regeneration of the town's former coal mines. Cllr Morson worked closely with the town's youth and established a mobile youth centre to combat anti-social behaviour, successfully reducing crime.

Frederick Mulder; Philanthropist

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Dr Mulder is an art dealer who has dreamed up a truly inventive philanthropy. He has given away art works, provided their value is made up in charitable giving. He allowed neighbours perpetual access to his land in exchange for £25,000 in donations to Oxfam. He was instrumental is establishing the Network for Social Change.

Jenni Murray; Broadcaster and journalist

Area of excellence: Entertainment

One of the most loved and respected journalists working today, she has presented Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' since 1987. Earlier in her career she launched the Saturday edition of the 'Today' programme with John Humphrys. She is vice president of the Parkinson's Disease Society and patron of the Breast Cancer Campaign.

Colin Osborne; Founder Orchid Cancer Appeal

Area of excellence: Charity

Mr Osborne, a survivor of testicular cancer, established the pioneering health charity to help other men facing the same ordeal. Since 2006, Orchid has raised more than £7m and has secured the support of celebrities such as Michael Parkinson and Chris Evans. The charity tries to break down the taboos that surround this cancer.

Robert Page; Creator, 'The Lover's Guide'

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

On its release in 1991, 'The Lover's Guide' was the first sex-instruction video to show the act in full. Mr Page faced charges of obscenity, but many leapt to his defence, and by the end of the year one in four British homes had a copy. 'LG' was credited with dismantling taboos and creating a public dialogue about sexual relationships.

Neil Papworth; Inventor of texting

Area of excellence: Innovation

In 1992 he was a young engineer eager to help improve the way businesses and institutions communicate. A short message service between cellphones seemed like it might be useful. In December of that year, he sent the first text message to the director of Vodafone. It read "Merry Christmas"; 15 years on, billions of txt msg r snt.

Lalita Patel; Bromley Asian Cultural Association

Area of excellence: Community service

Devoted wife who, while caring for her husband after he had a brain haemorrhage, founded an association to bring members of the Asian community together. It has grown from having just 10 members to more than 120 and from being a social meeting place to offering a range of activities, including IT, yoga and swimming lessons.

Matt Peacock; Opera with the homeless

Area of excellence: Community service

Founder of Streetwise Opera – an open-door workshop involving homeless people. Has put on acclaimed shows at Westminster Abbey and the Almeida Theatre, shortly to be seen at Sydney Opera House. The project has successfully challenged public perceptions of the homeless, has given them a sense of dignity and has fostered new skills .

Dave Pitchford; Creator, IntelligentGiving.com

Area of excellence: Innovation

The former high-flying e-business consultant packed it all in to channel his expertise into improving the way we give. Conscious that many potential donors were put off by the bewildering number of charities, his website is a guide to aspiring benefactors and provides interactive advice as to which charities they are most suited.

Matt Pritchett; Newspaper cartoonist

Area of excellence: Entertainment

One of Britain's funniest cartoonists. His work has livened up the front page of 'The Daily Telegraph' for the past 20 years and has won him many awards. A graduate of St Martins, he started drawing cartoons for the 'New Statesman' after a short, unsatisfying period as a cameraman. 'The Spectator' and 'Punch' have also carried his work.

Richard Reed; Co-founder, Innocent Smoothies

Area of excellence: Environment

Alone, the ambrosial concoctions justify inclusion, but Mr Reed is also jointly responsible for one of Britain's most charitable firms. Committed to giving 10 per cent of profits to charity from its beginnings at a festival stall, the Innocent Foundation has, among other things, set up teaching workshops in every region in which Innocent trades.

Benita Refson; Creator of ThePlace2Be

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

The Mental Health Foundation stated that one in five young people will experience mental health problems. Shocked by this, Ms Refson created ThePlace2Be, a charity that gives children in primary schools a chance to talk in confidence through creative play. ThePlace2Be works with 37,000 children in 112 schools across Britain.

Fiona Reynolds; Director-general, National Trust

Area of excellence: Environment

Membership of the trust has increased to 3.5m since Dame Fiona took up the directorship. It protects more than 300 historic houses and gardens in the UK, giving pleasure to millions of visitors. Cumbrian-born Dame Fiona read geography and land economy at Cambridge; previous jobs include director of the Cabinet Office women's unit.

Richard Rogers; Architect

Area of excellence: Environment

Multi-award-winning architect most famous for the Millennium Dome; despite the dome's earlier failure, it is these days, as the O2 Arena, often filled with fans at concerts by world-class artists. Lord Rogers now focuses on, among other things, designing energy-efficient buildings and masterplans that encourage vegetation and biodiversity.

Gordon Roddick; Co-founder of 'The Big Issue'

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

In 1991, he co-founded one of the UK's most successful social enterprises. A homeless person can buy copies of 'The Big Issue' magazine for 70p each and sell them on the street for £1.50, keeping 80p for themselves. Mr Roddick also played a crucial role in the history of the Body Shop, founded by his late wife, Anita, in 1976.

JK Rowling; Author and philanthropist

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Writer of the phenomenally successful 'Harry Potter' books, which have sold 400 million copies worldwide, Rowling is also a major philanthropist. Charities she supports include One Parent Families, Comic Relief and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2000 she founded the Volant Charitable Trust to combat poverty and social inequality.

Angela Sarkis; Chief executive of the YMCA

Area of excellence: Charity

Angela Sarkis is the only black woman to head a national charity. Before joining the YMCA, her roles included chief executive of the Church Urban Fund and BBC governor. She has extensive experience in the probationary service and was one of the seven founding members of the Government's Social Exclusion Unit.

Clive Stafford Smith; Death-row lawyer

Area of excellence: Community service

British lawyer who, for more than 25 years, has tirelessly fought the death penalty in the US. Mr Stafford Smith has lost few of the 300 death-row cases he has taken on. Originally, he thought he would be a journalist, but after spending a summer with prisoners on death row, he decided he would be able to help inmates more as a lawyer.

Lloyd Scott; Fundraiser

Area of excellence: Charity

Perhaps Britain's most eccentric fundraiser, Mr Scott has raised more than £5m for charity through various fundraising challenges. He walked the London Marathon in a deep-sea diver's outfit and cycled 2,700 miles across Australia on a penny farthing. Formerly a fireman, he began his fundraising work after surviving leukaemia.

Margaret Simons; Founder of Bardwell FC

Area of excellence: Physical health

Ms Simons launched Bardwell Football Club in Bicester, Oxfordshire, in 1963 and ran it single-handedly until her retirement in 2001. She set up the club so that local children would have something to do with their spare time. When she worked as a dinner lady, she used to take a football into school to keep the children amused at break time.

John Shepherd-Barron; Inventor of the ATM

Area of excellence: Innovation

Mr Shepherd-Barron may not see himself as the founder of a 24-hour global party culture (and his latest device, which plays whale noises, is yet to take off), but the 83-year-old's most famous invention, the ATM – Automated Teller Machine – marked the birth of the night-time economy and plastic money.

Tim Smit; Creator of the Eden Project

Area of excellence: Environment

After scoring top 10 hits as a producer for Barry Manilow and the Nolan Sisters, he says his next best contribution to music was to pack it in. He turned his attention to an old china clay pit near his Cornwall home. His vision was for a "living theatre" of plants, in a series of geodesic domes; one of the best things to happen in Britain for decades.

Francis Stott; Founder of 'Hear-Abouts'

Area of excellence: Innovation

Harrow resident who launched an acclaimed talking magazine for the visually impaired in 1995. 'Hear-Abouts', the winner of national awards, combines interviews, poetry, stories and local notices, and is sent out free. Mr Stott, a 77-year-old former sound engineer for EMI, spent his younger years producing classical albums at Abbey Road.

Tom Steinberg; Promoting democracy

Area of excellence: Innovation

A former think-tank wonk who created MySociety.org, Mr Steinberg is responsible for a range of politely subversive websites: TheyWorkForYou lays bare every MP's parliamentary productivity, FixMyStreet enables residents to report and discuss local problems easily, and e-petitions has seen 2.5m names sent directly to Downing Street.

David Stevens; Millionaire philanthropist

Area of excellence: Philanthropy

Mr Stevens is one of the UK's richest men but last year he donated almost half of his wealth (£100.3m) to humanitarian and environmental causes. With his wife, Heather, he set up the Waterloo Foundation in 2007. This gives grants to a number of charitable causes including global development and environmentalism.

John Sullivan; Scriptwriter

Area of excellence: Entertainment

Sullivan created and wrote 'Only Fools and Horses', one of the most successful TV sitcoms ever, and famous for its loveable lead, Del Boy, played by David Jason. Sullivan left school at 15 with the ambition to become a writer, but it was another 15 years before he achieved it. Inspiration for the sitcom came from the real-life characters of south London.

Elisabeth Svendsen; Trust for Children and Donkeys

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

A teacher who pioneered the use of donkeys as riding therapy for children with special needs and disabilities, Yorkshire-born Dr Svendsen established the first Elisabeth Svendsen Trust in Devon in 1985 – four more followed in other regions. Every week up to 150 children visit each centre; donkeys are taken to those who are unable to travel.

Philip Sykes; Plastic/reconstructive surgeon

Area of excellence: Physical health

His reconstructive surgery on children suffering from hand and arm problems has gained him an international reputation. After learning microsurgery in Australia, he set up the first microsurgical laboratory in the UK. He has been president of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, and recently co-authored 'A History of Plastic Surgery'.

Peter Tatchell; Gay-rights Campaigner

Area of excellence: Community service

Mr Tatchell has spent more than three decades campaigning against homophobia, sexism and racism, and has suffered much abuse – and even physical attacks – in the process. Never afraid to court controversy, he has employed headline-grabbing tactics such as sit-ins and jumping in front of the Prime Minister's car.

Peter Townsend; Anti-poverty campaigner

Area of excellence: Charity

Has devoted his life to social research and has written on everything from care homes to disability rights to high-rise housing. Brought up hand-to-mouth by a single mother, he was aware of the realities of poverty. For over four decades, he has urged governments to eradicate poverty, and was a pioneer member of Child Poverty Action.

Bernice Wallace; Personal shopper

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

At 93 years of age, Bernice Wallace, a former nurse, is the oldest personal shopper in the UK. Dubbed "Mother Wallace" by her local community, she takes shopping to the ill and vulnerable. She has lived in Harrow, north-west London, for more than 30 years and, despite her frailty, still insists on walking around town.

Barbara White; When You Wish Upon a Star

Area of excellence: Volunteers/time givers

Barbara White makes dreams come true for thousands of children afflicted by life-threatening illnesses. She has made it possible for children to meet pop group Boyzone and hang out with footballer Michael Owen. She founded the charity in 1990 after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was forced to leave her job as a physiotherapist.

Paul Wilson; Author, 'Little Book of Calm'

Area of excellence: Mental well-being

Wilson's 'The Little Book of Calm' kick-started the Little-Book genre and sold more than 10 million copies in 24 languages. Through his teaching, the "guru of calm" has taught more than a million people to meditate in Europe, China, India and the Middle East. He is now focusing on a not-for-profit peace venture, www.millionmeditators.org.

Tinky Winky; Tellytubby

Area of excellence: Entertainment

With friends Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po, Tinky Winky has provided enjoyment for children, and adults, from a universe filled with colour. However, his daring dress sense – which has seen him sporting a pink handbag and tutu – has provoked criticism from America's religious right about homosexual undertones. He seems happily unfazed.

Magdi Yacoub; Heart/lung transplant surgeon

Area of excellence: Physical health

Sir Magdi Yacoub has performed more transplants than anybody, and has saved thousands of lives. At Harefield Hospital, London, he was the first UK surgeon to perform a double heart and lung transplant. He also established the Chain of Hope charity, which carries out free heart surgery on children in poor countries.

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