A Lanark woman was totally surprised to be awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List.
“I was not expecting this at all,” she said.
Professor Nancy Loucks receives the honour for services to education and human rights, in her work as chief executive of Families Outside, and as Visiting Professor University of Strathclyde Centre of Law, Crime and Justice.
Nancy, who has dual citizenship, was studying at a Californian University when she became interested - “hooked” – on criminology and she came to the UK in 1989 for a year of graduate work.
She is married to Lanark vet Niall Kenny and has made her home in the town. The couple have twin daughters aged 16.
In 2004 she became an adviser to the board of Families Outside, a charity supporting prisoners’ families, and eight years ago she was invited to become its chief executive.
She is passionate about the work of the charity, which raises awareness of the impact prison sentences have on families, hitting their incomes, affecting the education of children, and breaking the family ties - about half of prisoners lose touch with their families. It trains prison staff and teachers, and tries to give families confidence to speak out and seek support, rather than be silenced by stigma.
Nancy is an elder in Greyfriars Church, Lanark, and with her personal contact the church provides toys at Christmas for children of prisoners.
This year Carluke Quilting Club also made children’s clothes and blankets.