Former Moderator made OBE in the Queen's birthday Honours list

A former Moderator of the General Assembly has been made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Dr Hood In Tarik Samir’s Gallery in Sarajevo
Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood In Tarik Samir’s Gallery in Sarajevo. Photo by John Young

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood has been recognised for her “exceptional and long service to the Church of Scotland and promoting tolerance and understanding” through the Scottish board of the Remembering Srebrenica charity.

She said she was dedicating her OBE to the Mothers of Srebrenica organisation and the many survivors of the 1995 Bosnian massacre who bravely speak out to try and tackle hatred and intolerance.

Dr Hood, who lives in Paisley with her husband Peter, said she was “gobsmacked” but delighted with her award.

Massacre

The retired parish minister, who was Moderator in 2013-14 and is one of Her Majesty the Queen’s personal Chaplains, said it was a “privilege” to be the chairwoman of the charity, which was established in 2015.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who have all visited Srebrenica, said they were thrilled and delighted that Dr Hood had been made an OBE.

Dr Hood, who stepped down from her role at Renfrew North Parish Church last October after 37 years, first visited Srebrenica in 2013 when she was Moderator.

She visited the site of the massacre and met the mothers of some of the victims.

Dr Hood was so moved by what she saw she helped found the Scottish Board of Remembering Srebrenica to raise awareness about the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two.

More than 8,000 people, mainly Muslim men and boys, were murdered by the Bosnian Serb army.

The charity also campaigns for more widespread education around the world to prevent ethnic tensions developing into violence.

Immense privilege

Dr Hood has just returned from a trip to Srebrenica, leading a delegation which included Miss Dugdale and the MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Gail Ross.

“I am gobsmacked and totally taken aback that I have been made an OBE,” said the minister who is also the chairwoman of YouthLInk Scotland, a youth work charity.

“I am slightly embarrassed to be honest but it is an honour and a privilege to be the chair of the board.

“I am dedicating the award to the Mothers of Srebrenica, an amazing group, and those who bravely talk about the rape camps.

“It is an immense privilege to be able to take people out to Srebrenica to meet with survivors and hear their stories.

“It is so important that we share them in Scotland to tackle hatred and intolerance because if genocide can happen there, it can happen everywhere.”

Dr Hood said she was humbled by the courage and tenacity of the people who speak out about the massacre.

“Every time they tell their stories they relive what happened to them,” she explained.

“They are put through so much but they all say they have to go through it to make sure their stories are properly told so lessons can be learned.

“The Remembering Srebrenica board are an amazing group of people who work so hard and this award is also dedicated to them.

David Mundell "Thoroughly deserved"

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, congratulated Dr Hood on her OBE.

“Lorna Hood’s OBE recognises her exceptional and long service to the Church of Scotland, and promoting tolerance and understanding through the Remembering Srebrenica charity,” he said.

“The award is thoroughly deserved.”

Miss Sturgeon said: “I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Lorna is to receive an OBE.

“In recent years, she has been a driving force behind Remember Srebrenica Scotland.

“Like countless other Scots, it is through Lorna’s efforts that I was able to personally visit the Potocari Memorial Cemetery and have been inspired to help raise awareness of the 1995 genocide.

“But her wider commitment to Scottish society over many years – to giving our young people a brighter future, and to building a constructive, respectful dialogue between people of diverse backgrounds – is an inspiration to all of us.

“After a long and distinguished career in the service of others, this OBE is a thoroughly deserved award - and Lorna has my sincerest congratulations.”

Ruth Davidson: "Inspirational"

Miss Davidson, a member of the Scottish board of Remembering Srebrenica, said Dr Hood was a worthy recipient.

“Lorna was an inspirational and transformative moderator of the General Assembly,” she added.

“Since her retirement, she has worked tirelessly to serve young people through her chairmanship of YouthLInk Scotland and to advance the politics of Scotland through membership of the Commission for Parliamentary Reform.

“For my own part, I know Lorna best from her chairmanship of the Remembering Srebrenica Scottish board, on which I am proud to serve.

“She has brought the lessons of that conflict to Scotland in order to eradicate hate and bring communities together.

“Lorna is a brilliant leader, a fantastic speaker and a hugely accomplished woman who uses her warmth and humour to bring out the best in everyone she meets.

“I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this award from Her Majesty.”

Kezia Dugdale: "Groundbreaking work"

Miss Dugdale said: "I'm utterly thrilled to see all Lorna's years of service to the Church and Scottish civic life recognised in this way.

“Her work on Srebrenica alone is groundbreaking - tackling intolerance and racism in all its forms.

“Lorna has achieved so much through sheer force of personality and determination and it's an utter privilege to work with her."