The life and smile of a “real daughter of the Rock” who lost her life to Covid-19 has been honoured in the first public memorial since the pandemic started.

Catherine Sweeney was a home carer for more than 20 years and was just a few weeks from her birthday and retirement when she contracted the coronavirus early in April.

The 65-year-old was the first front line worker in Scotland to die, on April 4, from the disease and the first named of a current total of 127 fatalities in West Dunbartonshire linked to Covid-19.

At the weekend, a hawthorn tree in Levengrove Park was dedicated as a lasting tribute to the mum.

Rev Ian Miller, who presided over the short service organised by the GMB union, said it was important to picture Catherine – better known as Cathy – in their minds.

He said: “After a lifetime of service, we know she will be sorely missed.

“I just wish that we would pause and do what she did - put the needs of others before ourselves. That would be an even bigger legacy.

“Today we salute a real daughter of the Rock.”

A long-time resident of Bellsmyre and then Silverton, Cathy walked to all her home carer appointments and was well known in the community.

The former Notre Dame High pupil was described as “kind, caring, loving and loyal to her friends and family” by daughter Colette, who attended Saturday’s tree dedication and said her mum had a “heart of gold”.

Mr Miller continued: “She never had a bad word for anybody. Can we learn something from you Cathy? I’m sure we can - to think of others. When we smile, we do what she did.

“I want you to think of Cathy’s smile. We give thanks for a real daughter of the Rock. We salute that service she has given us.

“Our thoughts and prayers today and thanks for all who serve our community.”

The GMB union said in a statement: “Catherine’s family, friends and fellow GMB members speak of a caring and generous person, especially when it came to her time, having dedicated more than 20 years of her life as a home carer and unfailingly serving the needs of the most vulnerable in society.

“Truly, Catherine represented everything that is good about our key workers and the extraordinary dedication they give to our communities which so often can go unrecognised. Today we join Catherine’s family and friends to celebrate her life, mourn her passing and appreciate her life’s work.”