AN AWARD-winning nurse who worked at Southampton General Hospital for more than 30 years and successfully sued health bosses over racism has died.

Tributes have been paid to children’s nurse and equality campaigner Rosie Purves, 64, who has lost her battle against ovarian cancer.

The popular nurse made headlines in 2004 when she took health bosses at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust to an employment tribunal over racial discrimination and was awarded £20,000 compensation.

She took action against the trust after a racist mother told hospital staff that she did not want Mrs Purves treating her child, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, because she was black.

The tribunal ruled that managers should have supported her instead of making allowances to keep the two apart.

The case came to light two years after she had picked up a prestigious Daily Echo-backed Local Hero award after families called for her to be recognised for her dedicated work with sick children.

Paying tribute to Rosie, who has two children and several grandchildren, Anver Jeevanjee, president of the Cultural Diversity Advisory Group in Southampton, said she was a dedicated campaigner against discrimination.

“No doubt Rosie will be sadly missed by her friends and all those who knew her as a fighter against racism and for human rights on behalf of us all,” he said.

“She was a woman of great principle and as such it is a great loss to people anywhere in the UK.”

A service in memory of Rosie is being held at 7pm tonight at St Vincent De Paul Church, Aldermoor Close, Southampton.

Following the service, her family have made arrangements to fly her body back to her birthplace in Trinidad where she will be buried.

Her family have also asked that no flowers are brought to the funeral.

Instead, financial donations can be made to the Ovarian & Prostate Cancer Research Trust, Surrey Research Park, 10 Nugent Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7AF.