THE man behind the jet suit paramedic concept will be the first speaker at a new networking group aimed at connecting Northern businesses.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) will launch a business club next month to unite businesses from its region and give them the chance to hear from expert speakers.

Membership fees from the GNAAS Business Club (GBC) will go towards helping GNAAS continue to provide life-saving critical care to ill or injured patients in the region at a time when the charity has seen a slump in revenue from corporate supporters.

In 2019 the charity received £753,000 from businesses, however in 2020 this was down to £412,000.

Although the membership fee will help the charity, the main goal of GBC is to create a group for businesses to network and establish a sense of unity and togetherness, just like when the charity’s own critical care team work together to save a life.

The first event will be a free taster session taking place virtually on February 11, with guest speaker Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, who came up with the jet pack idea.

He said: “I’m delighted to be the first speaker at our inaugural event for GNAAS’ new business club.

"At GNAAS we strive to stay at the forefront of pre-hospital care and are committed to a programme of research and development, so the first event will be focused on innovation.

“I will be talking about the launch of the jet suit paramedic which we trialled in September 2020, our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, what the future looks like for us, and my management style, among other things.

“It’d be great to see as many businesses as possible joining us, albeit virtually, and hopefully we can all meet in person later in the year once it’s safe to do so.”

Mr Mawson described seeing the jet pack in action for the first time as "awesome".

He said it meant a paramedic could "fly" to a fell top in 90 seconds rather than taking 30 minutes on foot.

Mr Mawson said: "There are dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lakes. We could see the need. What we didn't know for sure is how this would work in practice. We've seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome."

Leya Baksh, corporate fundraising officer at the charity, said: “We’re really looking forward to meeting local businesses at our launch event.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to network and grow their connections as well as listen to interesting speakers. Membership fees will contribute towards our life-saving service, which is completely reliant on public donations.”

Businesses of all industries and sizes are welcome to join GBC. The membership fee is £35 per month per member.

By becoming a member of GBC, members will be invited to networking events throughout the year and get access to exclusive benefits such as discounted rates on GNAAS’ world class facilities hire.

Contact or call 01325-487263.

To register for the first event visit: