Life-saving dogs reach £1million milestone

Newfoundland rescue dog, Whizz in action

Newfoundland rescue dog, Whizz in action - Credit: supplied

A TEAM of swimming dogs from North Somerset has raised an astonishing £1million for charity thanks to their remarkable life-saving skills.

Newfoundland rescue dog, Whizz

Newfoundland rescue dog, Whizz - Credit: supplied

Since being set up in 1990 by David and Gean Pugh of Clapton-in-Gordano, the popularity of Newfound Friends has grown and grown.

Through lifesaving demonstrations and sponsored events which see fundraisers pulled from open water by the 14-stone dogs, the Newfoundlands have helped raise the seven-figure sum for a wide range of good causes.

Newfound Friends has become a firm favourite at many maritime festivals throughout the UK and its dogs have starred on many TV shows.

They also carry out therapeutic work with seriously ill children who attend hospices and home-from-home cancer care establishments.

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David and Gean own two Newfoundlands, called Whizz and Ted, but there are about 20 dogs which are members of the group.

This year, they have taken part in three charity rescue days at Portishead Marina.

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The total raised from these was a whopping £18,960, which went to charities including Headway at Frenchay Hospital and The West of England MS Therapy Centre.

One of the events was also held for Tol’s Appeal, which was set up by a brave young boy called Tolemy who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010. As a result, he decided to help raise money for charities that help unwell children and joined Newfound Friends.

As a result of last year’s achievements, Newfound Friends has now raised more than £1million for good causes.

David said: “It’s taken an awful long time to reach this figure and lots of very hard work by family and friends - now we are well-known around the world.

“I am proud of the work we do and amazed at the things we have achieved.

“I never ever thought we would get this far.

“Without the help of marina manager Keith Berry, we would not be able to support the charities as much as we do.”

This year, the dogs, which are such strong swimmers due to their webbed feet, will feature in a new BBC series called Who Let the Dogs Out and About and a book has also been published called Those Amazing Newfoundland Dogs.

More dog rescues will be held at Portishead Marina to raise money, including for the Jessie May Trust on June 8, Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary on July 13 and The West of England MS Therapy Centre on September 14. Another will also take place for Tol’s Appeal but a date has not yet been set.

To find out more about Newfound Friends visit

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