A TOUCHING memorial to the first NHS worker in Scotland to pass away after contracting coronavirus has been unveiled at the new Greenock Health Centre.

Healthcare support worker and district nurse Janice Graham tragically died at Inverclyde Royal Hospital on April 6 last year.

Tributes to the much-loved nurse and mum-of-one poured in from people all over Inverclyde and her colleagues formed a guard of honour as they applauded the funeral cortege.

Towards the end of 2020, Janice's colleagues approached BAM Construction - the company building the town's £20m new health centre - about including a memorial for their much-loved colleague.

The firm then approached the team at Inverclyde Shed to ask if members could help with making a small plaque for Janice.

Shed member Laughlan Smith created the plaque at their facility using a digital computer numerical control machine and a beautiful piece of local oak.

The tribute was handed over to the team at BAM Construction and has been installed beside a bench at the new centre overlooking a courtyard.

The poignant message inscribed on it reads: 'Janice, here we sit every day and know you're never far away'.

It was proposed by the much-loved nurse's colleagues and Janice's son Craig says the plaque is an 'overwhelming and fantastic gesture'.

He said: "I would like to give a huge thank-you to my mum's colleagues for still thinking about my mum and for arranging the plaque.

"This means a lot to myself, my dad, my gran, my mum's sisters and to the rest of my family as we approach my mum's first anniversary.

"The memorial is testament to the lasting impact my mum made on her colleagues, patients and the community she served.

"It shows she was much-loved and that she will never be forgotten.

"Thank-you to everyone who was involved in this gesture and for the love and support you have given us over this past year.

"It's very much appreciated."

Four of Janice's former colleagues - nursing assistant Dawn Barilli, district nurse Margaret McCabe, community staff nurse Anne Crawley and senior nurse Christine Hennan - visited the courtyard area to see the plaque.

Anne said: "Janice was such a lovely girl and we all loved working with her."

Bruce Newlands, chair of Inverclyde Shed, says members of the organisation were very proud to be involved in honouring Janice.

He said: "We were honoured to be asked to make the plaque as a tribute to the courage shown by Janice and her colleagues.

"We really wanted to pay our respects to Janice and all of the brave NHS workers.

"Getting involved in this way really means a lot to our members - especially those who have been struggling through the pandemic."