Fed up with lists that celebrate the rich? The Independent on Sunday published a ‘Happy List’ this weekend - encompassing the top 100 people who who make Britain a better and happier place to live.
The Happy List 2009 - an antidote to the Rich List in The Sunday Times, includes multimillionaires who give money away rather than rake in huge bonuses; those who devote their lives to the disadvantaged; comedians who cheer us all up; and those unsung heroes of thousands of communities around the land such as the crime-fighting milkman, a ridiculously brave lifeboatman, and the dog that brings comfort to the sick.
The IoS explains that the list celebrates some of the people in Britain who give back, enhance the lives of others, and realise that, in an acquisitive society, there's a crying need for values other than materialism. Its researchers sought people in all walks of life, from philanthropy and charity work, mental well-being, physical health, pleasure, media, culture, environment, innovation, volunteers and time-givers, community activity, and entertainment.
There is a diverse list of people on there - including (strangely) Thomas the Tank Engine, but it also includes entrepreneur and director of Sign-Now, Andrew Thompson.
Andrew, 44, from Grangemouth in Scotland, who featured on the Blog earlier this year, created a web-based video conferencing service (Sign-Now) that enables deaf people to communicate via a laptop. He also developed an equivalent translation service enabling the deaf to communicate with the hearing public. This former RBS manager, deaf from birth, also founded Sign-Tube a social networking and video-posting platform for the deaf community.
Fundraiser Nicole Dryburgh also made the top 100 and is hugely inspirational. Afflicted with a spine tumour at 11, Nicole also suffered a brain haemorrhage, Bell's palsy, a stroke and is now blind and nearly deaf. Aged 20, she lives with her mum and has so far raised more than £50,000 for charity and aims to collect £50,000 more for Teenage Cancer Trust. Her book The Way I See It, details her experiences. Find out more about Nicole at her website.