GAS mourns the sad loss of colleague Gary

It is with deep regret that Great Annual Savings mourns the sad loss of our colleague, Gary Pearson, who passed away suddenly, whilst at home yesterday.

We know this comes as a shock to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Gary.  He was always so positive and happy, and such a great person to know.  We will miss him dearly.

A passionate County Durham Sportsman

Gary was born and raised an Easington Lane lad and from an early age he was an avid footballer.  His love of sport took him to professional and semi-professional football level, with a career spanning more than a decade.  He played for the likes of Sheffield United, Gateshead, Darlington and Spennymoor, and recently called time on a seven-year period as Manager of Ryhope CW in Sunderland.

Gary succeeded his brother, Alan, as club captain of Hetton Lyons FC, the record-breaking Sunday League club managed by GAS Chief Executive Brad Groves.  He held this position for 10 years and played alongside our Group Operations Director Craig Shields and Group Health and Wellbeing Manager Gav Cogdon.

He was the team and the town’s hero on so many occasions, as illustrated in this article’s accompanying image, which features him scoring the winning penalty in the All England Sunday Cup at Anfield.

A successful sales professional

Gary was a social and gregarious man, so in recent years a successful career in sales was a natural fit.  Very much a people person, Gary was warm and approachable, easily connecting with new people.  This is something many colleagues and Group contacts will have experienced in his presence.

His career in sales journeyed through varying sectors including sportswear and construction training, before he joined GAS last year, within the Partnership division.

Gary’s infectious personality made a huge impact when he joined GAS and he quickly became a popular colleague. His character, coupled with his passion and commitment to the local area, made him an obvious choice to support the activities of our foundation.  His enviable local network of friends and acquaintances enabled us to introduce GF Foundation to many new groups and charities and his involvement and achievements will always be gratefully remembered.

One of our family

We have lost a dear friend and colleague who will leave an indelible gap in our GAS family.

Our thoughts and sincere sympathies go out to his immediate family.  His wife Denise and his two daughters Mackenzie and our own Macey.  His parents Arthur and Carol, his brother Alan and Alan’s partner Susan, their son Charlie and Charlie’s girlfriend Amelia, who is another part of our GAS family.

Also to his extended family including Brad, Lesley, Liam, Ryan and Josh.


We’ll miss you, Gary.



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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.