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Established 1989. Newfound Friends.

Newfound Friends

David Pugh honoured with British Citizen Award

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 25 extraordinary people from across the UK are being recognised with the coveted British Citizen Award. One of them is David Pugh from Bristol, Somerset. Due to the current government restrictions banning large gatherings indoors, the usual grand medal presentation ceremony at The Palace of Westminster is unable to take place. For the first time in its history, David Pugh and the remaining 24 medalists received their BCA medals by courier, together with a video message from some of the Patrons and an invitation to the House of Lords at a date yet to be determined, when it is safe to do so.

The British Citizen Award (BCA), in association with One-Stop, is now in its fifth year and recognises exceptional people who positively impact their communities. David is honoured with a BCAc for Services to the Community.

David has been dedicated and committed to supporting over 50 charities over the past 31 years. David founded his charity Newfound Friends in 1989 as a vehicle to showcase the exceptional talents of his incredible Newfoundland dogs, whilst raising vital funds for charity. In the past 30 years over £1.5 million has been raised for over 50 different charities. David works with charities to host a ‘Take the Plunge’ day in which the supporters of the chosen charity jump from his dinghy into a marina to be rescued by one of his dogs. The event is fully accessible to everyone allowing people with disabilities to take part in the event. David has also used his dogs to bring comfort to terminally ill children in children’s hospices, such as Little Bridge Children’s Hospice. David also used his skills as a joiner by trade, to help build the children’s outside play equipment at Children’s Hospice, Charlton Farm.

On hearing that some children from Belarus who had been affected by the Chernobyl disaster needed a home to offer respite care, food and medication, David and his wife welcomed 2 boys into his home and helped the boys get stronger. One of the boys returned to David’s home for 7 summers, during which time David taught him life-saving skills for water rescue as well as the foundations in joinery. Water safety is something David is extremely passionate about, being a fully trained lifeguard who also trained his Newfound dogs in Water rescue. One of his dogs Whizz, rescued 9 people during his work with Maritime Rescue Volunteers and was awarded the animal OBE in 2016. David and Whizz visit schools teaching children locally about water safety.

“Every time a new group of medalists are selected we are reminded of the great work that takes place across the nation. We serve many communities through our One Stop convenience stores and we know how vital this work is. The individuals that are being recognised reflect all that is good about community spirit. It is important, now more than ever, for us to be involved in the BCA awards and we are privileged to play a small part in helping medalists to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all 25 honourees”, said Jonny McQuarrie, Managing Director from BCA partner One Stop

About Us

Newfound Friends UK is a registered charity that uses the swimming and therapeutic superpowers of Newfoundland dogs to improve people’s lives.

David Pugh, founder of Newfound Friends UK, combined his passion for life-saving and love of these incredibly powerful, intelligent dogs to create this very unique charity. The mission of Newfound Friends is to remove barriers to improve and save people’s lives.

David and Ellie

David and Ellie with Tizz and Darcy, Portishead Marina

For the past 31 years, Newfound Friends has trained generations of Newfies in sea rescue, annually displaying their talents at festivals around the UK. Furthermore, Newfound Friends “dog rescue” charity events are hugely popular: participants experience a once in a lifetime opportunity of being rescued by one of these gentle giants whilst raising money for their chosen charity. To date, Newfound Friends have supported over 50 charities, several multiple times, raising over £1.5 million and counting.

Newfound Friends at Portishead Marina

Newfound Friends UK at Portishead Marina

Away from the sea, Newfies are the calmest, most intuitive animals you will ever meet. Qualities that have brought many smiles and comfort to poorly children that meet these cuddly teddy bears during the many therapy visits Newfound Friends make to children’s hospices / hospitals. Over the years David has trained many Newfies to become therapy dogs and never underestimates how special the bond between the furry friends and the children is.

Ellie and Tizz at RUH, Bath

Ellie and Tizz at Royal United Hospital, Bath

Newfound Friend’s expertise in training Newfoundland dogs in sea rescue is recognised nationally and accredited by the Royal Life Saving Society. The team have advised and supported many TV shows, such as Blue Peter, Country File, Super dogs and the Newfies themselves have won many awards for their extraordinary talents. One very special Newfoundland, Whizz, was in a league of his own and was awarded the animal equivalent of the OBE for saving the lives of 9 people. Whizz, although sadly no longer with us, will always be at the heart of Newfound Friends and the current Newfies follow in his footsteps to train to be the most incredible super-dogs.

Whizz OBE (2004 - 2016)

Whizz OBE

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Days Cottage, Clevedon Lane, Clapton in Gordano. BS20 7RH

Telephone: 07721 475 316
Email: mrdpugh@mail.com