The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is celebrating after winning two awards at a ceremony held to recognise the best of North East business.

The charity was named the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year at the event held at Durham Cathedral yesterday (Thursday). GNAAS also won North East Champion of the Year award.

Jim Entwistle, head of marketing and communications at GNAAS, dedicated the awards to the charity’s staff, volunteers and supporters after a tough year which has seen fundraising income drop and demand on front line service increase.

He said: “We’re just blown away to win. Our teams responded to more than 1200 call-outs last year alone. They overcame hurdle after hurdle to make sure they could continue to respond in the midst of the pandemic. Not a day’s work was lost during that time, and lives were saved as a result.

“The work involved to make that possible was immense. Not just from the front-line team but all those who work behind the scenes, our army of volunteers, and of course the supporters who give selflessly to keep the rotors turning. These awards recognise that, and it means so much to us all.”

Chloe Holmes from North East Times which sponsored the North East Champion of the Year said: “The charity’s unwavering commitment to developing their resources, and the resilience they have shown during the pandemic is both truly inspiring and incredibly worthy of recognition.

“It was a hugely humbling and emotional experience talking to the team and learning more about the contribution they make to the North East, the people and families that access their services.

“The first-person account of how the actions of the team provide life-saving response is remarkable.”

Darush Dodds, Esh Group, sponsored the Business of the Year award, said: “Great North Air Ambulance’s service is a huge testament to our region’s determination to tackle problems head on and achieve goals, no matter how insurmountable they may seem at the time.

“Covid must have seemed a huge challenge yet this charity has still blazed a trail.  Congratulations to every single member of their team and their many supporters.”

GNAAS is a charity and needs to raise more than £5m a year to survive. To find out more, please visit or call 01325 487 263.