Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has announced experienced governance professional Jonathan Jowett as the chair of the Bboard of Trustees.

Lauren Huntington has also been appointed as a trustee of the charity.  She is deputy director (alumni and supporter engagement) at Newcastle University and will work with the team on marketing, external engagement and fundraising to help ensure GNAAS is well-known and well-funded.

Jonathan, who in his executive life is company secretary and general counsel at Greggs plc, is the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director at Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust and has previous charitable experience following a nine-year trusteeship at The Percy Hedley Foundation, ultimately as its Chair. He was appointed following a rigorous selection process, led by the Nominations Committee of the Board of Trustees and chief executive David Stockton. Jonathan lives on the Durham/Northumberland border and hails from Darlington, and includes in his portfolio of activities a directorship of Darlington FC.

He said: “As soon as I visited the Great North Air Ambulance Service I knew that this was a charity I would love to be involved with.

“The reality is that the charity is not just about the helicopters.  It aims to provide 24 hour support across the North East and Cumbria, both in the air and on the road attending major incidents.

“The work is critical pre-hospital care, looking after seriously injured or ill patients.  The main challenge we are facing is keeping the helicopters in the air and the cars on the road. As a trust board we have overall responsibility for making sure the governance of the charity works, the funding is in place and to support the executive team on a day to day basis.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to help make a real difference.”

David Stockton, chief executive of GNAAS said: “Jonathan is a fantastic addition to the charity’s board of trustees. To get someone of his standing was a massive coup for us.

“He brings a wealth of experience second to none, including a legal and governance background and I am delighted that we are going to benefit from this. It’s challenging times in the third sector and we need to raise more than £7million every year to continue the life-saving work our highly-skilled medics do every single day.

“Jonathan’s business acumen, and likeability will undoubtedly be a significant asset going forward at a time when costs are rising and giving is down.  We need to raise more funds than ever to continue providing the same level of service, and to progress and increase service delivery we must raise more again.  This is a significant challenge and one which Jonathan and Lauren are more than equipped to support us with.”

Lauren Huntington said: “I’ve been aware of the work of the Great North Air Ambulance Service for many years and admired the ground-breaking innovations in critical care.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to get actively involved and am looking forward to working with the trustees, and the whole team to support the amazing work the charity does.”