A group of Newfoundland dogs put their life-saving skills to the test at the weekend by retrieving people from the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.

The event saw 20 volunteers - including a former marine with a spinal injury - take part in a display that allowed the dogs to show off their life-saving abilities.

Each of the 20 dogs was tasked with saving one person each, and swarms of people lined the banks of the lake to see the display by the dog charity Newfound Friends, in aid of Help for Heroes.

The event started early in the morning at the cordoned-off swimming area on the south side of the lake, in the centre of Hyde Park.

It was the first time that the dogs had the chance to showcase their skills at Hyde Park, and the capable canines did not disappoint, with each one diving into the water to save their 'victim' and help pull them to safety.

Since 1990, when Newfound Friends was founded, it has grown from a group of enthusiastic Newfoundland owners to a major network of dog lovers who aim to use their dogs' extraordinary rescue skills to raise money for a number of different charities.

They have become a firm favourite at maritime festivals all over the country and have raised a total of more than £1 million for charity - a sum that increased further at the weekend when people lining up to see the dogs' exploits donated heartily.

Described as the St Bernards of the sea, the enormous canines get through plenty of premium dog food and have previously helped to pluck city workers form the Thames as part of an event that raised thousands of pounds for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

In 2010, finance workers paid up to £500 each to throw themselves off a boat near Canary Wharf and wait for 60 seconds to be rescued by one of the 14-stone animals.

Written by: Hannah