I spent a year meeting people who make a difference – here’s what they taught me

The Guardian angel is hanging up her wings – here she revisits three community heroes to see how their lives have been changed by the column

In the year I’ve spent highlighting the people doing good in their communities for the Guardian angel column, I’ve learned many things. First: no one sets out to be a do-gooder. Something happens to a person – calamity, sickness, loss – that opens a cavity in their chest, and once the air gets in, they’re not able to shut out the misfortunes of others.

They start with small, incremental gestures, which then grow over time. A network forms. Calls asking for help come during the day and night, and they are answered. The person’s free time is eroded, often their finances, too, and very occasionally even their health. Despite this, they keep going. Why?

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