The PROUD sons of a staunch anti-poverty campaigner and housing activist have paid tribute to their mother's ‘indomitable spirit’ after she tragically passed away.

Cathy McCormack was described as a 'mum-in-a-million' by her sons Anton and Gary after her peaceful death following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The 70-year-old former factory worker from Easterhouse made her name tirelessly fighting for better housing conditions in the scheme where she raised her three children.

Her natural gift for oratory led to her being linked with eminent researchers, the United Nations, and the World Health Organisation, for whom she made a series of mercy trips to Nicaragua and the slums of South Africa.

Cathy passed away peacefully at her home in the early hours of Monday morning.

Glasgow Times:

Son Gary, 37, told the Glasgow Times: “She wasn’t just our mum, but our best friend too. I really don’t know what we will do without her.

“She was so happy over the last few weeks, and we were able to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. 

“She looked like she was just having a nap and that’s of some comfort to us because she didn’t suffer. She passed away in her own home surrounded by love and that was important to her and us. She was loved by so many and had an incredible fight within her and indomitable spirit."

Cathy suffered from COPD for several years and relied on oxygen to help her breathe. Her family revealed how she bravely fought back after a health scare last year that saw her in hospital on a ventilator and battling for survival.

Anton, 42, said: “We were told by the consultants that mum wouldn’t survive and there was nothing more they could do.

"We were asked to say our goodbyes but she amazed medics by pulling through. When she opened her eyes she couldn’t talk and asked for a bit of paper and scribbled something down, so we thought it must be a very important message. It read ‘why are you not at work?'.

“Even when she was on a ventilator, she was still giving us a ticking off. That was mum all over, she was always thinking of others."

Cathy was brought up in Glasgow's Cranhill area and harboured dreams of going to university, but her parents discouraged her from pursuing a career in favour of settling down.

Glasgow Times:

She left school as a teenager and ended up working in a local cigar factory, but when the family moved to Easterhouse, her life took on new meaning and purpose.

Cathy successfully campaigned to win investment from the council to improve the dampness in the area's housing stock, an issue that was causing ill health and sickness among both young and old. She was asked to talk at demonstrations and press conferences and then found herself invited to seminars as her reputation as a feisty activist grew.

Cathy's campaigning reached the ears of politicians and she was invited to the Houses of Parliament to discuss the link between poor housing and health.

In 1992 she was involved in setting up the Scottish Public Health Alliance a pressure group that pushed for health initiatives that would improve the country's shameful health record.

Cathy, a finalist in the Glasgow Times' Scotswoman of the Year in 1994, later penned her autobiography, The Wee Yellow Butterfly, where she told of the struggle many families like hers had faced just to put food on the table.

Glasgow Times:

Gary explained: “Mum wasn’t university educated, yet she went on to be quoted in numerous academic journals. She wanted to change things for the better in Scotland.

“She was a powerhouse and an inspiration to us all. Mum always stood up for what she believed in and that’s something she taught her kids and grandkids."

When she was asked to write an article on her experiences, it was picked up by bosses at the World Health Organisation, who asked her to be a special adviser at their European Health Policy Conference in Copenhagen.

She was then invited to attend the United Nations Commission in New York. Suddenly this proud woman from one of Glasgow's most charismatic schemes was on a panel with renowned academics and UN advisors, digesting papers on economics yet always holding her own.

Glasgow Times:

Anton added: “Mum achieved so many incredible things, but one of the most important to her was seeing the first solar-powered housing built in Easterhouse. She was years ahead of everyone else in her thinking and cared deeply about the environment.

“At the heart of everything she did was the desire to help others. She hated injustice and loved about the community she lived in.

"Easterhouse was home and she would make some of the world’s leading academics come to visit there.

“We’ve had touching tributes from people all over the world. It’s a comfort to us knowing that she inspired so many others. For mum, it was all about righting the wrongs for people who didn’t have a voice.

“She empowered them to stand up for their communities. We’re so proud to call her our mother and we will miss her dearly.”

Cathy's funeral will take place on September 7, at in the West Chapel at Daldowie Crematorium, Glasgow, at 10:45am.