14 Geordie Heroes You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

You won’t read about Ant and Dec, Sting or Cheryl Cole here.

1. Stephen Miller.

Mike Hewitt / Getty

Michael Steele / Getty


Age: 34.

From: Cramlington, Northumberland.

Heroic because… having been born with cerebral palsy, he became Britain’s youngest ever track and field Paralympic gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

2. John Gregg.

Greggs / BuzzFeed

Died in: 1964.

From: Newcastle.

Heroic because… he’s the man behind Greggs. John used to deliver bread ingredients to Geordie families by bike in the ’30s. And in 2013 - almost 50 years after his death - Greggs recorded total sales of over £760 million.

3. Herb Kim.

Herb Kim / BuzzFeed

Age: 47.

From: New York. But he moved to North East England as an adult.

Heroic because…
he runs the annual “Thinking Digital Conference”, which is held in Gateshead. It’s one of Europe’s largest technology conferences.

4. Gladstone Adams.

Kemmi / BuzzFeed


Died in: 1966.

From: Newcastle.

Heroic because… he invented windscreen wipers. Gladstone came up with the idea as he drove home in a snow storm after the 1908 Cup Final, when the Magpies lost to the Wolves. You can still see his prototype wipers at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum.

5. Mark Allison.

Mark Allison / BuzzFeed

Age: 47.

From: Blyth, Northumberland.

Heroic because… he’s raised over £250,000 in charity runs. Most recently, he ran over 2,300 miles across Australia in temperatures so hot the tarmac melted under his trainers.

6. Sir John Hall.

intu Metrocentre / BuzzFeed

REX USA / David O'Neill / Mail On Sunday / Rex


Age: 81.

From: Ashington, Northumberland.

Heroic because… he developed Europe’s largest indoor shopping and leisure mall, the Metrocentre in Gateshead, which is one of the few shopping centres with its own chapel. He was also Newcastle United’s chairman in the ’90s, but you already knew that.

7. Chas Chandler.

Express / Hutton Archive / Getty

Died in: 1996

From: Newcastle.

Heroic because… after discovering Jimi Hendrix, he allowed the musician to stay at his mother’s home in Heaton to save money. He went on to manage Jimi and Slade, and he played bass for the Animals.

8. Lauren Luke.

Age: 32.

From: South Shields.

Heroic because… she’s a world famous make up artist with a YouTube following of almost 135 million people.

9. Charles Merz.

Alan Walker / energysavingtrust.org.uk / CC

Died in: 1940.

From: Gateshead.

Heroic because… he proposed the system which still gives us our electricity to this day: the National Grid.

10. Professor Peter Higgs.

The University of Edinburgh / Getty

Age: 85.

From: Elswick.

Heoric because… he discovered the particle named after him. But mostly because he didn’t know he’d won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for Physics until a former neighbour congratulated him on the street. He’d been out and doesn’t own a mobile phone.

11. Katy McLean MBE.

RFU / BuzzFeed

WPA Pool / Getty


Age: 28.

From: South Shields

Heroic because… she’s the captain of the England women’s rugby team and works as a primary school teacher in Sunderland.

12. Sir John Burns.

Andrew Curtis / geograph.org.uk / CC

Age: 62.

From: Newcastle.

Heroic because… he was instrumental in creating Toon’s Centre for Life, which teaches science to 40,000 school children every year. He also received a knighthood for services to medicine in 2009.

13. Alan Robson MBE.

Metro Radio / BuzzFeed

Age: 58.

From: Benwell.

Heroic because… having presented a late night phone in on Metro Radio for over 30 years, he broke the world record for the largest ever ghost hunt. It involved 2,987 people in 324 places.

14. Dame Margaret Barbour.

Luca Boldrini / commons.wikimedia.org / CC

REX USA/Associated Newspapers / Mail On Sunday


Age: 74.

From: South Shields.

Heroic because… she turned Barbour into a world famous clothing label. And she responded to being made a Dame by saying, “This is not just for me, but for the company; everybody in my hardworking force in the North East of England.” We hear you.

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