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Pride of Britain nurse retires but continues raising money for sick children

Rosie was made to dress as Ellie' the PICU mascot on her last day!

Just two weeks after hanging up her nurse's scrubs for good you'd think Rosie Mitchell would be looking forward to a restful weekend. But for Meridian's Pride of Britain winner it means she can now spend even more time raising money for critically ill children.

Tomorrow is one of Rosie's biggest events - the annual PICU Funday. It's hosted by the landlady of the Cleveland Arms in Chandler's Ford who has seen first hand how Rosie's charity 'Friends of PICU' helps youngsters. Jade Whitfield's son Jenson was rushed to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton suffering breathing problems when he was a small baby. One of around a thousand children to receive treatment on the unit every year.

"I want to see the unit continue to expand and remain to be one of the best in the country."

– Rosie Mitchell, retired nurse
Rosie was sad to leave the unit but can now concentrate on raising money for PICU

For the past fourteen years Rosie has nursed youngsters like Jenson who require round the clock care from some of the country's best trauma medics. But she quickly realised that the NHS couldn't provide all the specialist life saving equipment the unit needed.

Within eight years of launching the charity, Rosie and her supporters had raised a staggering £1million for the unit. It enabled them to buy medical kit that makes procedures less invasive for the unit's tiny patients as well as three special ambulances, specifically designed to collect critically ill children from across the south coast and bring them to Southampton for urgent treatment. It also helped to pay for accommodation for parents whose children are being treated on the unit so that they can be on site 24 hours a day.

But with much more on the shopping list it's meant that when Rosie hasn't been working on the unit - all of her spare time has been used raising money for it. Her departure from the ward earlier this month was tinged with sadness but Rosie says her passion is for fundraising and she wants to keep the money coming in so that the unit can remain one of the best in the country.

"I was very sad to leave the wonderful unit but I realised I was not as young as I used to be and kept getting stuck on the floor checking drains! Now that I am retired I will have lots more energy to keep on fundraising."

– Rosie Mitchell, retired nurse
Rosie will continue fundraising for PICU Credit: Rosie Mitchell

When Rosie won ITV Meridian's Pride of Britain award last summer it was clear to see how much she meant to the unit. She was nominated by five different people including PICU's medical director, and parents whose children benefit from everything she has done both medically and charitably say she is simply 'one in a million'.

So as this 'one in a million' aims to make her next million, on Saturday July 25th her funday will see pony rides, face painting, bouncy castles, and tombolas and by making many children happy - it should also help to make many others healthy.

PICU Family Funday 10am - 4pm. The Cleveland Bay, Pilgrim's Close, Chandler's Ford SO53 4ST