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And Back Home For... The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List

24 July 2015

 

"Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

We all love a bit of good news!

For the second year running, Grange St. Paul’s Hotel was host to the “best of the best”, aptly termed by Anne-Marie Huby of JustGiving. The best fundraisers, the best do-gooders, the best charity founders, the best volunteers, essentially the best people from up and down the land who genuinely make a difference for others.

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Genny Jones and Wendy Daws

The Happy List was founded in 2008 as an antidote to the lists that celebrate wealth. Isn’t it comforting and reassuring to know there are many people, particularly those recognised on this year’s list, who give their time and resources to benefit others simply because they can and because it’s a good thing to do. And particularly in a world becoming more cynical, selfish and materialistic.

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Fred Marquis and Marina Marquis 

 
This year, guests were treated to our ultimate venue: The Sky Bar with those unbeatable views of St Paul’s Cathedral. As the drink flowed and the canapés were served, stories of kindness and entrepreneurial spirit were swapped. We were delighted to be in the presence of such inspiring people and met many of them, including Primrose Kaur Pauglea.

Last year, Primrose started performing random acts of kindness, which involved buying coffee for strangers in cafés, making donations to people in need and leaving anonymous “kindness notes” all over the country.  Now, she routinely performs five acts of kindness a day and her “Five Acts Programme” has built up a national following. Then we talked to Robert Young who, having survived an abusive childhood, ran his first marathon in a kilt in 2014. He then proceeded to complete a world record of 370 in 365 days. In doing so, he has raised money for the NSPCC, Dreams Come True, and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 
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 Ted McCaffrey

Grange Hotels, with our ethos of supporting many charities and founding our own, Indian Ocean Disaster Relief, is delighted to be the official home of The Happy List 2015 and, hopefully, for many years to come. Lisa Markwell, Editor of The Independent on Sunday, was the first to welcome everyone and spoke of the “enthusiasm, graciousness and sense of community” which makes the Happy List party “the best night of the year!”


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Lisa Markwell

Anne-Marie Huby then took to the stage to eloquently express her delight at JustGiving being a headline sponsor for the first year. She reminded us that kindness will never go out of fashion. In fact, generosity has never had it better, apparently, as a million pounds a day is raised on the JustGiving site. 

 
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Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society

The Happy List is even endorsed by the government as last year David Cameron introduced ‘Points of Light’, the government’s scheme to recognise the work done by inspirational volunteers. This year’s winner of the ‘Points of Light’ Award went to Dominique Harrison-Bentzen who, having lost her bank card one night, was helped by a homeless man, ‘Robbie’, who gave her £3 to get home. She was so touched she launched an appeal to get him a flat. It raised an incredible £42,000 which allowed a local homeless charity to house Robbie and others.

 
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Dominique Harrison-Bentzen

“Grange Hotels is genuinely delighted that the Happy List continues to grow and gain recognition. It is about making the world a better, and happier place for ourselves, our communities and those that follow on behind us.” Tony Matharu, Managing Director of Grange Hotels and Founder and Chairman of IODR.

“With the backing of JustGiving and Grange Hotels, the IoS was able to give the 100 Happy Listers and their friends and families a memorable night. Here’s to 2016!” Lisa Markwell, Editor of The Independent on Sunday.