A FAMILY who were unable to be with their dad as he lay dying from Covid-19 are calling for a community memorial for all lives lost in the pandemic.

Patrick Rooney was 76 when he passed away in September.

But his family had to make the heartbreaking decision to say their goodbyes by video to the father of three, who had seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Months later, they still feel they didn’t get the chance to grieve properly and they, and other families, would benefit from a Clydebank memorial.

Daughter Patricia Rooney, 56, told the Post: “It was heartbreaking - totally soul-destroying.

“He was the head of the family.

“It’s so unreal - as if we were cheated as a family. And we understand there’s a lot of families out there in the same predicament.

“I think it would be nice as a community to stand together as one. We should recognise these people - they’re not just a number.

Patrick Rooney, 76, died in September 2020

Patrick Rooney, 76, died in September 2020

“Clydebank as a community is strong as one. We are there for each other when it’s needed.”

Politicians have backed the idea of a memorial, though a location would have to be decided. Options could include Dalmuir Park, near the bandstand, Clyde Shopping Centre, or along the waterfront at the Queens Quay development.

Patrick was born in Whiteinch on July 22, 1944, one of 10 children. He was a lifelong Bankie, working first at Yarrow’s shipyard and later for 20 years at Clyde Shopping Centre where he was well known as a cleaner. He also worked as a window cleaner for West Dunbartonshire Council.

He and wife Joan met as teenagers and were married when he was 18 and she was 16. They marked their 57th anniversary two weeks before Patrick died on September 23.

The family are unsure where he contracted the virus along with Joan. But it quickly took hold, and Patrick died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Patrick’s family knew that if they’d gone to see him in hospital they would not have been able to go to his funeral. But Patricia said the choice still weighs heavy on them.

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She said: “We are not getting that chance to grieve because we didn’t get to say farewell. Even to this day, I lie in bed at night crying - I should have gone up, and not gone to the funeral.

“It was a horrible decision we had to make as a family. Everybody wanted to attend the funeral as a family. It was so unfair and so undignified.”

Because of Covid restrictions they couldn’t see Patrick after he died either. Only recently with restrictions easing have the family been able to get together to share the grieving process.

“It was as if, click, they’re gone and it affects your grieving because you don’t get to say that farewell,” added Patricia.

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Clydebank’s MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes, said: “The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our communities. For those families who have lost loved ones, it has been unimaginably difficult to grieve without the close support of people around them.

“I believe having a local community space for people to come together in remembrance and pay tribute to those we have lost to Covid-19 will be an important part of the healing process.

“Plans to establish an appropriate memorial in West Dunbartonshire would have my full support.”

Councillor Danny Lennie told the Post: “I would be very much in favour of the family’s plan. I cannot imagine how hard it would have been not to be able to say your goodbyes properly and as a family.

“Some sort of memorial would be ideal. A Covid memorial is not only a much-needed site, but the respectful thing to do for those we have sadly lost and for those devastated by losing loved ones.”