For the past eight years, The Independent on Sunday has celebrated the kindness and generosity of 100 unsung heroes with its annual Happy List.
This year, we forged a partnership with the social-giving platform JustGiving, in order to spread the Happy List message to an even larger audience. In turn, JustGiving wanted to recognise the remarkable achievements of the men, women and children on the Happy List with a special accolade, to be presented at their annual JustGiving Award 2015 ceremony.
In all the years that the Happy List has been going, it has been striking just how many young people there are – from small children to teenagers and beyond – who help to make Britain a happier and more caring place.
So, a fortnight ago, we put forward 10 young individuals from the Happy List and asked you, our readers, to nominate the person you think is most deserving of a special JustGiving 2015 Award.
We were overwhelmed by the response and we are proud to announce today that the winner is six-year-old Ted McCaffery from Stockton Heath.
Ted had to have open heart surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and, while waiting in a ward to go down to theatre, he turned on the television to discover that it didn’t work. Just nine weeks later, after successful surgery, Ted completed a mini-triathlon to raise funds so that other children in hospital wouldn’t feel “bored”, and has since raised £20,000.
Ted encapsulates what the Happy List is all about – being altruistic, magnanimous, charitable and self-effacing. And as a worthy winner of the JustGiving Award, Ted will be the standard bearer for future generations of fundraisers.
The runner-up for the JustGiving Award is Emily Smith, 26, who raised awareness of the harmful impact of plastic on our oceans. Emily, from London, came up with The Plastic Challenge and gave up single-use plastic for 40 days, to highlight how our throwaway culture is killing off the marine environment. As a volunteer for the Marine Conservation Society, she also takes part in beach cleans and helps remove tons of litter.
We are confident that Ted and Emily – who will be special guests at the glittering JustGiving Award ceremony this Wednesday – will continue to work hard for the causes they believe in and act as an inspiration for thousands of other young people to do likewise.
All the individuals on the Happy List have done extraordinary deeds to improve the lives of others, and the young people we are celebrating today are no exception.
If you know somebody you think should be on next year’s Happy List or should be featured in our weekly Happy News story, please nominate them by going online to independent.co.uk/happylist, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to: Lisa Markwell, Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF.
With only three days to go before the JustGiving Awards 2015 ceremony, it is an ideal opportunity to look back at the phenomenal fundraising achievements of this year’s finalists.
After the awards season officially opened in June, JustGiving received an astonishing 20,000 nominations from members of the public. The shortlisted JustGiving Awards finalists attracted a total of more than 40,000 votes.
The worthy finalists have inspired more than 50,000 people from 84 countries to help raise £1.3m.
As in previous years, the sheer number and breadth of causes that people choose to raise money for never ceases to inspire.
What JustGiving does is let its users more easily discover the amazing things that the people and communities around them are doing.
The Coach and Horses pub in Soho, London, for example, raised more than £13,000 to hire a mobile kitchen to feed the Calais refugees.
Employment lawyer Sean Jones appealed to the legal profession to donate the equivalent of one billable hour of work to Save the Children, raising more than £160,000.
Other outstanding stories include that of Jessica Stoate, whose parents both died of cancer by the time she was 15. She made a promise to herself do what she could to ensure no more little girls suffered the same loss – and raised £13,000 running the London Marathon this year.
On Wednesday, all the finalists and their loved ones will come together at the JustGiving Awards ceremony, but they – and all the other JustGiving fundraisers – will continue to inspire others to take action for good for many years to come.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies