AN acclaimed businessman has been appointed as chairman of trustees of the life-saving Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Technology entrepreneur Professor Brian Jobling has joined GNAAS in a move which both parties hope will secure the long-term future of the charity.

Mr Jobling started Gateshead-based software firm Eutechnyx as an 18-year-old and led it to become one of the world’s biggest independent video games developers with 181 staff in its offices in the North-East, USA, China and Hong Kong.

After taking on the role of executive chairman at Eutechnyx in 2013, the 45-year-old has more time to focus on his other interests, including a prominent role at the fledgling Lakes Distillery in Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, and his new position at GNAAS.

Mr Jobling is no stranger to the world of aviation as he holds a licence to fly both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

His new role is not about getting behind the controls of the GNAAS helicopters, however, but making sure the charity is raising enough money to keep the service airborne.

“I’m here to support the chief executive and to ensure we are raising enough money to keep the aircraft flying,” he said.

“This isn’t about coming in and making sweeping changes, it’s about continuing the great work and promoting the charity, what it does and stands for in the region.

“It still isn’t widely known that the Great North Air Ambulance Service is 100 per cent charitably funded.

"Our main focus is to ensure we are raising the £4m we need every year to keep the aircraft flying.”

Grahame Pickering MBE, chief executive of GNAAS, said: “We are lucky to have Brian on board and we are thoroughly excited about the future with him as Chairman of the Trustees. Since 2001, this charity has grown rapidly to become a leader in the field of pre-hospital care.

“Brian’s business acumen and technical expertise will allow us to take the service to the next level, hopefully securing the future of the charity for generations to come.”

Mr Jobling takes over the post from Dr George Murphy, who stepped aside after three years at the helm.