IT IS an incredible achievement that is helping to save the lives of more critically ill children in Southampton every day.

Just eight years ago, one woman had a dream of making life just a little bit better for severely sick babies fighting for their lives in Southampton General Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and their parents.

And today Rosie Mitchell stands “flabbergasted” as the charity she set up, the Friends of PICU, celebrates raising its first £1m.

It is a milestone that the PICU nurse never dared dream would be possible, but thanks to her dedication and the endless support of fundraisers, supporters and volunteers, the charity has been credited for helping to make the unit the second best of its kind in the country.

From specialist cubicles for the south’s most poorly babies to a state-of-the-art dedicated children’s retrieval ambulance and better accommodation for parents forced to watch as their children fight for survival, the charity has paid for it all.

It has not been an easy journey, and it has seen Rosie and her team putting in countless hours every week in their spare time to keep it going – but it has all been worth it.

To celebrate, the charity is hosting a Million Pound Party on Saturday to give everyone who has played a role in helping to reach such a major milestone the chance to get together and enjoy the success.

Rosie said: “I am totally flabbergasted. It is absolutely amazing.

“When we started this charity eight years ago I never imagined that we could raise this incredible amount of money.

“I have just always wanted to make life a bit more comfortable for the children and their parents, and we are really seeing the benefits.

“I think people particularly like the idea that every penny raised for this charity goes towards buying new equipment for the unit.

“I am so proud of what the charity has become, and that has been made possible by all of the people that have helped us along the way.

“People have told me that had it not been for this charity, the unit would not have become the second best in the country, which it is today, and that means so much. Now we must look onwards and upwards to raise the next million.”

The party will be held at East Horton Golf Club from 4pm to 10pm, and will include a children’s disco and entertainment from 4pm to 7pm, with cheese and wine tasting, plus live music, later.

There will be a fireworks display at about 7pm and guests will include actress Sarah Parish and her actor husband James Murray, who are both patrons of the charity.

For tickets email

Tickets cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.