Sarah Lennon has been described by friend and local councillor Laura Devlin as “one of the kindest, loveliest girls you could ever meet”.
A funeral notice states that Mrs Lennon “died peacefully” at the Ulster Hospital on Thursday – the “dearly beloved wife of Eamon and cherished mother of Erin, Conleth, Sophie and the late Aidan, much loved daughter of Margaret and the late Eugene R.I.P.”
Husband Eamon is the proprietor of Lennon’s Spar and garage on the Newcastle Road in Castlewellan where wife Sarah also worked.
Cllr Devlin described Mrs Lennon was a “complete worker” who showed no signs of any underlying health concerns.
“It’s really hard to get words to describe what people are feeling or thinking about what has happened,” she said.
“I saw here about a week and a half ago in the shop – she was always there – she was a complete worker.
“And while she ran the petrol station and was the owner, she was very much involved in the local community.
“This is just horrendously shocking. Shocking beyond belief,
“Sarah was one of the kindest, most loveliest, warm girls you could ever meet and we are all just distraught.”
Cllr Devlin said Sarah’s death has shaken the Castlewellan community and reinforced the feeling that “we are far from the end” of the Covid pandemic.
“We need to be so unbelievably careful in terms of how we move forward,” she added.
In an online tribute, one friend said Mrs Lennon was “a beautiful soul,” and added: Sarah has blew me away many times throughout knowing her, with her cheerful disposition, always looking on the bright side, showing compassion and kindness always.
“Coronavirus stirs up anger and blame in people. I ask you to just take a minute, reflect and keep Sarah and her family in your thoughts AND be kind, we are all in it together.”
One typical tribute from a friend on Facebook said: “Sarah was one of the best people you could know had time for everyone and supported everything.”
Another friend said: “Such a lovely bright and bubbly girl, always smiling.
“Sarah was a lovely girl with the kindest soul. Would never pass you in the street without a smile and a cheery hello.”
Mrs Lennon’s death is the first Covid-related fatality since June 8, the Department of Health said.
It takes Northern Ireland’s total number of Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,156.
The DoH also recorded a further 339 new infections.
In the last seven days, 2,077 individuals have tested positive for the virus.