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10 Feel-Good Stories From 2016 That Shine An Optimistic Light On The Past Year

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23/12/2016 11:19 | Updated 03 January 2017

There’s no denying that this year has been tough, with Brexit dividing the UK left, right and centre.

But before you write 2016 off as the worst year in living history, we’ve rounded up our favourite good news stories from the past twelve months to end the year on a high. 

From random acts of kindness to real-life romance, these stories will have you smiling into 2017.

  • The Twitter Wedding
    EMMA LUNA PHOTO
    Back in 2012 Victoria O’Brien tweeted to say she was “in love” with whoever was running the Twitter account for the Waterstones bookshop on Oxford Street.

    It was a joke, of course, but Victoria and the man behind the account, Jonathan, began messaging each other.

    This year they got married, restoring our faith in true love (and social media). 
  • The Charity Singer
    THE SONGAMINUTE MAN
    Back in August 80-year-old Ted McDermott and his son, Simon, raised more than £50,000 for a dementia charity by posting their 'Carpool Karaoke' duet online.

    Then in September, Ted, who has dementia, was offered a record deal. Proceeds from his first single, 'You Make Me Feel So Young' went to the Alzheimer's Society. 
  • The Kind-Hearted Pupils
    PA
    In July a group of schoolchildren hatched a clever plan to ensure their friend with Down’s syndrome would win a race during sports day. The pupils, from Stockton-On-Tees, came up with the idea to help eight-year-old Will Finlayson without any input from teachers.

    During the egg and spoon race, they deliberately dropped their eggs or walked really slowly to ensure Will would cross the finish line first. And when he did, he had a huge smile on his face.
  • The Sippy Cup Saviours
    Tommee Tippee
    Last month Tommee Tippee announced it would be making 500 blue sippy cups for a 14-year-old boy with autism after a global search.

    The boy’s dad, Marc Carter, put out a plea earlier in November 2016 asking people to search their cupboards for the discontinued cup, as it was the only thing his son Ben would drink from. 

    Upon receiving the new cups, the dad said: “I would not be happier if I won the lottery."
  • The Dog Who Broke Hollywood
    Freshfields Animal Rescue
    Freya became known as the 'World's Loneliest Dog' after spending six years at a Liverpool animal shelter, being passed up by more than 18,000 potential owners. 

    Her heartbreaking story was picked up by national papers and spotted by 'Transformers’ director Michael Bay.

    When he heard of Freya's plight, he chose her to star in his new film. The pup has since found a forever home. 
  • The Record-Breaking Bridesmaid
    The Bridesmaid
    'Grandma Martha' became Britain’s oldest bridesmaid in April after following her granddaughter down the aisle – on the same day as turning 100.

    When Vita Cresswell told her grandma, Martha Wallbank, she was marrying her partner of eight years, Gary Whineray, the proud gran responded with “and I’m the bridesmaid”.

    The pair couldn't refuse and Martha loved every minute. 
  • The Employees That Went Above And Beyond
    Love What Matter
    A mother who gave birth to her stillborn daughter in June was moved to tears by the kind gesture of two Tesco workers.

    Tamzyn Rollinson was desperate to buy the same baby blanket she wrapped her daughter in when she was born for a memory box. But when she looked online, it said the blanket was currently out of stock. 

    Rollinson sent Tesco a private message to see if they could sort it out and was overwhelmed when two employees hand-delivered the blanket along with a bunch of flowers.
  • The Loyal Brother
    ELIZABETH RUIZ via Getty Images
    Triathlete Alistair Brownlee stole hearts around the world when he helped his brother Jonathan cross the finishing line at the Mexico World Triathlon Series.

    The brothers ended up finishing in second and third place and Jonathan collapsed on the floor just after finishing the race. He later thanked Alistair for his "incredible loyalty".
  • The Dedicated Volunteer
    BBC 3
    98-year-old Sally has been volunteering as a dog walker at her local animal shelter for 40 years, but her hard work finally got the recognition it deserves this year after the BBC shared her story.

    Sally walks up to 10 dogs daily and shows no sign of stopping. 

    When asked about why she volunteers, Sally said: "That’s what we’re on this earth for, to help one another.”
  • The Modern-Day Fairytale
    The Big Issue/Twitter
    In March former Big Issue seller Jack Richardson married Toni Osborne, a woman who he gave money to while he was sleeping rough.

    The pair met back in 2013 when Jack asked Toni if she'd like to buy a copy of the paper. Much to his dismay, she broke down in tears explaining that she couldn’t even afford to pay her electricity meter that month, so Jack kindly offered to give her some of his earnings so she would be able to afford electricity over Christmas.

    The pair stayed in touch and are now husband and wife.
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