Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Memorial held for race campaigner Rosie Purves

Rosie Purves
Image caption Rosie Purves will be buried at her birthplace in Trinidad in the Carribean

A memorial service has been held for a race campaigner from Southampton who died last week.

Former nurse Rosie Purves, 64, was awarded £20,000 in compensation in 2004 after she was prevented from caring for a baby girl because she was black.

The baby's racist mother had objected to black members of staff at Southampton General Hospital in 1995.

After the case Mrs Purves, of Shirley, went on to offer support to others in similar situations.

She lost her battle against ovarian cancer last week and her friends and family gathered at St Vincent de Paul Church in Lordswood to remember her on Monday evening.

Her niece, Cherry Anne Bailey, said: "She was a fantastic auntie. Her laughter, you could always hear her before you saw her.

"We called her the mayor of Southampton because you couldn't walk down the road without her stopping to talk to about 100 people.

"She just loved people. She had the biggest heart you could find."

Racial harassment

Mrs Purves' family is arranging for her body to be brought back to her birthplace in Trinidad where she will be buried.

Mrs Purves became well known after she won the racial harassment case against Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2004.

The baby girl, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, was moved from Mrs Purves' ward after the mother complained.

She admitted she had "no problem" with the care that Mrs Purves had provided but she was "a racist" and "did not wish a black person to care for her child".

The woman also befriended the mother of another child being treated at the hospital in 2002 who subsequently also demanded that Mrs Purves should not care for her child.

The employment tribunal ruled that managers should have supported her and should not have made arrangements to keep them apart.

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