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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

Family pay tribute to couple killed in A303 crash

A couple killed in a crash on the A303 have been described by their family as "caring, fun, loving and inspirational".

Jon and Judith Woodget, of Lockeridge in Marlborough both died from their injuries after their car collided with a parked lorry in a lay-by on the westbound carriageway on Sunday.

Jon and Judith Woodget

It happened west of the Bullingdon Cross interchange at Sutton Scotney near Winchester.

Police are now in a position to name two people who died following a fatal road traffic collision on the A303 at Sutton Scotney near Winchester on Sunday, July 19.

Mr Woodget, 64, died at the scene and Mrs Woodget, 65, died at Southampton General Hospital the following day, with her family at her side.

John and Judith were adored by their children Matthew, Lucy and Sarah and their four grandsons Theodore, Maxwell, Sebastian and Miles. The hole left in the family is unfathomable. They were a hugely caring, fun loving and inspirational couple. They constantly provided time, energy and help to so many people, from family and friends to the community and beyond.

– Family tribute


New role for iconic phone boxes

The unusual new exhibition space Credit: OneFamily

Southampton is about to get one of the UK’s most unusual art venues thanks to a team of volunteers who have won a £5,000 community award from the OneFamily Foundation.

The K6 Gallery will renovate a pair of old telephone boxes (the iconic, red variety) located in the old town quarter of Southampton, and convert them into an exhibition space.

It will offer a genuine platform for local artists and creative people from within the community to exhibit their work, as well as the ability to curate exhibitions, including the work of the students at Southampton Solent Art Studios.

New hope for people with Osteoporosis

Research at the University of Southampton Credit: ITV news

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a link between coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. They carried out tests on 350 men and women between the ages of 70 and 85 and found people with a history of heart disease tend to have weaker bones - making them more vulnerable to fractures and breaks.

The research suggests both conditions could have similar causes. In one of the first studies of its kind to use a special scanning technique, researchers found that people with a history of heart disease had substantially lower bone mineral density in their wrist bone than those without. The effect was more prominent in women than in men.

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit and Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Southampton, says: "This is one of the first studies to use this technology to explore bone geometry, density and microstructure in patients with heart disease. The findings highlight the need to evaluate a history of heart disease in the management of osteoporosis in older people and further research is also needed to provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms which explain the link between osteoporosis and heart disease."

Dr. Julien Paccou, Clinical Research Fellow at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, added: "In essence, this work and others show that people with a history of cardiovascular disease tend to have weaker bones. There is a need to better understand this association to improve bone health."

New airline route from Southampton to Antwerp

Here in the south we're well connected to the rest of the world. Having the likes of Gatwick and Heathrow on the doorstep makes international jet-setting easy.

Even smaller airports like Bournemouth and Southampton have flights to more than 40 destinations, from Leeds to Lanzarote.

It's great for the region's economy and experts think it could get even better, thanks to a new route from Southampton to Antwerp.

Andrew Pate has been to Belgium to find out more.


Campaign launched to bring back Southampton's QE2

The QE2 sails out of Southampton Credit: ITV news

A new campaign has been launched to bring the most famous passenger ship ever built - Southampton's QE2 - back to the UK.

She was sold to Dubai in 2008 to become a luxury hotel and conference centre but the global economic crisis meant the plan fell through and the ship has been left with an uncertain future. Now councils, politicians and business leaders in Greenock, Scotland are leading a campaign to buy back the former Cunard ship.

Launched by the Queen in 1967, QE2 carried the rich and famous from Southampton to New York. She also played a vital role during the Falklands campaign carrying troops to the conflict.

Cunard sold the liner for £50 million and under the deal the company has to agree its future. The ship remains in a Dubai dockyard with no confirmed plans for her future.

Grant for Southampton scientists to research treatments for Alzheimers

Good news for Southampton researchers Credit: ITV news

Scientists trying to find new treatments for people with Alzheimers have been awarded half a million pounds. The University of Southampton team will investigate the link between our brains and our immune systems. It's the first financial grant from a new Dementia Consortium including Alzheimers Research UK. The funding will unite academics at the University of Southampton with drug discovery experts at the medical research charity MRC Technology to target the immune system in the hunt for new treatments to slow down the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "It's been fascinating to see the academic community dissect the role of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease. But now we need to translate this interesting biology into tangible benefits for the 500,000 people in this country living with Alzheimer's. The Dementia Consortium is tackling the lack of treatments head on, by closing the gap between fundamental academic research and the pharmaceutical industry's drug discovery efforts. It's a long road from research in the laboratory to treatments in the clinic, but investment to boost the number of new drug targets is critical if we are to face this huge medical challenge."

Saints sign Portugal defender

Southampton Football Club have signed Portugal defender Cédric Soares. Saints have followed on from Tuesday’s deal for Spain international Juanmi to sign Soares on a four-year contract from Sporting CP. The 23-year-old has recently returned from international duty with Portugal, for whom he lined up alongside current Southampton captain José Fonte – who, like Soares, began his career with Sporting.

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