In honour of her husband’s impactful contributions to the North East through his involvement in the Tyne and Wear Metro and Nissan, Judith Brown, 76, has graciously donated £50,000 to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

The couple, residing in Beamish for nearly three decades, were Judith Brown and Peter Smith, 84, until his sudden passing due to a stroke in January 2021.

Following the death of her husband, Mrs Brown has recently received a compensation settlement which she has always intended would go to charity and decided she wanted to donate £50,000 to GNAAS.

 “I wanted to put the bulk of the money somewhere regional. The money was always going to stay in the North of England, and I know GNAAS covers the North East of England and the Lake District, where Peter and I spent a lot of time together.

“I thought of various causes, then I think I might have seen the helicopter go over, but it was literally like a bolt of lightning, and I thought, well that serves a purpose and is a worthwhile cause, and I got in touch.”  

Mrs Brown
Peter Smith and Judith Brown

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous donation received from Judith, in memory of her beloved husband Peter. Like many charities at the moment, fundraising has not been easy for us, and we have been seeing a reduction in donations. 

“When Judith got in touch offering to donate £50,000 we were blown away by her generosity. We’ve since met in person at our base, near Eaglescliffe, where we had the opportunity to show her around our facilities and hear some lovely stories about her and Peter.”

David Stockton, chief executive officer at GNAAS

Mr Smith, who was originally from West Yorkshire, worked in various parts of England before coming to the North East for a job at Gateshead Council, later becoming County Treasurer of Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County Council until its demise in 1986. 

After that, he was the Chairman of several NHS Trusts before becoming Chairman of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust in Gateshead.

During his 59 years of working in the public sector, he made some incredible achievements, including negotiating central government funding to construct the Tyne and Wear Metro, playing a key role in securing the arrival of Nissan in Sunderland with a land deal and a purpose-built terminal on the Tyne and overseeing the building of the Peter Smith Surgery Centre in Gateshead.

Outside of work Mr Smith played football and cricket at a high level and became an enthusiastic member of Yorkshire and Durham County Cricket Clubs, visiting all the county grounds. He was also a season ticket holder for Newcastle United, alongside his wife, and they regularly attended games together at St James’ Park.

The couple enjoyed walking trips and visiting the theatre together, and Mr Smith was also a huge fan of the cinema, ever since attending wartime children’s matinees, and he continued with regular trips to Tyneside Cinema until 2020.

Peter Smith

“We would decide what we were doing on the Saturday and get the bus into Newcastle after 10am and have a cup of coffee.

“Then Peter, knowing I hate shopping, would say, I’m sure you’ve got some shopping to do, you like to wander around Fenwick, which meant ‘I’ve got time to go for a pint.’ So, I would wander and then about half an hour later meet up with him and have a drink, and we’d go to the match. Afterwards we’d either go to the cinema, the theatre or Fenwick and have something to eat. It was always a routine around the football.” 

Speaking about a typical Saturday, Mrs Brown

Despite being extremely fit and healthy, Mr Smith sadly died from a stroke while in hospital.

He is survived by his widow Judith, two children, Tim and Pippa, from his first marriage, stepdaughter, Charlotte, and his brothers, David and Graham.

 “While Peter may no longer be with us, his legacy lives on with this donation, which will fund over 11 missions, and help us potentially save lives.”

Mr Stockton

GNAAS does not receive government funding and therefore needs to raise £8.5m a year to remain operational. The charity has launched a raffle with a top prize of £10,000 to help it meet the rising demand of its services. Tickets cost £1 each and are available now at

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