Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile


Monday 26 May 2014 08:49

Elena Baltacha

Elena overcame serious illness to become Britain’s top women’s tennis player, and used her winnings to start a tennis academy for under-privileged children in Ipswich, her home town. She died this month at 30 from liver cancer, just after being nominated for the Happy List.

Mary Beard

The respected classicist is Britain’s best-known name in the field. Her profile is unapologetically colourful, and she is a regular guest on BBC’s Question Time. She has delighted us with her historical documentaries, narrated with erudition, enthusiasm and relish for the saucy or bizarre.

Tom Daley

The 19-year-old diver took to YouTube last December to announce that he was in a relationship with a man. He was later hailed by many as a perfect role model for young people in similar situations.

Sir Roger De Haan

The former boss of the over-50s insurance firm Saga established the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust in 1978 with his father, Sidney. Roger retired in 2004 and in the past seven years has given £49m to a wide range of charities through the trust. He was knighted in this year’s honours list.

Georgios Samaras

Celtic’s on-pitch celebrations after winning the Scottish Premiership were especially momentous for one young fan. Jay Beatty, who has Down’s syndrome, was given manager Neil Lennon’s winner’s medal before striker Georgios lifted him out the crowd and carried the 10-year-old on a lap of honour in front of 60,000 fans.

Sue Townsend

The author of the ever popular Adrian Mole series, Sue died last month aged 68, prompting tributes from fans and fellow writers around the world. While the loss remains, so does her work, so that her name will always be spoken with a smile.

Charlie Webster

The Sky Sports presenter from Sheffield revealed she was sexually abused as a young girl. This year, she pledged to run 250 miles in seven days to campaign against domestic violence, raising around £100,000 for Women’s Aid in the process.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell’s universally popular song Happy made many people … well, happy. His single, a chart-topper in 24 countries, had an equally gleeful video, which led to numerous “inspired by ...” versions, including one from a group of British Muslims that shattered stereotypes.

Malala Yousafzai

After speaking out for women’s education rights in Pakistan, Malala was shot by the Taliban in 2012. This propelled her to international prominence and two nominations for a Nobel Peace prize. This year she has spoken at the UN and met leading global political figures. She continues to campaign worldwide.

Roy Hodgson (with luck)

Probably the most down-to-earth manager England have had in years, Roy is diplomatic without being dishonest, and speaks with intelligence and integrity. Of course, this currently positive public image would be upgraded to something close to godliness should he come back from Brazil cradling the World Cup this summer.

The full list of people who make life better for others
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

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

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in