North East England Chamber of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Business of the Year award to Great North Air Ambulance at the celebration of regional success held in Durham Cathedral.

The Eaglescliffe-based charity beat off stiff competition to win top honours in the inaugural Chamber awards and also won the North East Champion of the Year category. It provides a North East emergency air service which gives 24-hour care and in the last year alone responded to 1,250 call-outs despite the challenges of operating during the pandemic.

Lesley Moody MBE, Chamber President (AES Digital Solutions) said: “The standard of entries for our awards was incredible.

"After all the challenges of Covid we were delighted to read about so many North East businesses’ achievements. Our members have worked tirelessly to not just keep going but also grow, exploring new opportunities and markets.

“We offer our huge congratulations to all the winners but in particular to Great North Air Ambulance. It is a fantastic charity saving hundreds of lives every year and also leading the world with training and innovations in emergency medical field.”

Jim Entwistle, head of marketing and communications, Great North Air Ambulance said: “These awards mean so much to so many people from the front line team, to the staff who keep it all running, our army of volunteers and the many thousands of supporters who make it all possible.  
“We are so proud to be part of such a thriving business community in the region and would like to thank all involved for this prestigious awards.”

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The judges paid tribute to the GNAA and its unwavering commitment to the development of its resources and the resilience it showed during the pandemic, describing the charity as’ both truly inspiring and incredibly worthy of recognition’.

Chamber awards associate sponsor Bernicia’s chief executive John Johnston said: “It’s great to see the Chamber Business Awards celebrating the very best of North East business in the stunning venue of Durham Cathedral.

"The businesses showcased at the final demonstrate the incredible resilience and strength of the North East business community to adapt and thrive in the most challenging of environments over the past 18 months.”

The Northern Echo:

Darush Dodds, Esh Group (left) which sponsored the Chamber Business of the Year with Ashleigh Chapman and Jim Entwistle, Great North Air Ambulance

Winners of other categories were from a range of sectors covering the length and breadth of the North East.  They were - best Export Business Newcastle-based Pearson Engineering, Entrepreneur of the year, Everflow Group from Stockton, Green Business winner was Battlesteads Hotel in Northumberland and best Business Diversification was given to Gateshead-based Recovery4Life.

Diversity and inclusion is an important part of Chamber campaigning and the award for this was presented to SignPost Productions in Gateshead.

The Small Business of the Year winner was Nirvana Europe, based in Wallsend, while Medium-sized business of the year was Stockton’s Endeavour Partnership and Seaham-based Believe Housing won Partner & President’s Club Business of the Year.

The judges of the awards were the category sponsors and included the Wingrove Motor Company, Northumbrian Water, Teesside Airport, Durham University, Gateshead College, Womble Bond Dickinson, NE LEP, Northern Skills Group, North East Times and Esh Group.

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