KAY Carmichael campaigned passionately for the causes she believed in – whether they were ‘unfashionable’ or not. She was a voice speaking up for the anti-nuclear movement, decriminalisation of prostitution, gay rights and prison reform.

Born In Shettleston in 1925, Kay attended school in Girvan until she contracted polio and slipped through the cracks of the education system. Teaching herself through reading and regular visits to Tollcross Library, she studied at Edinburgh University and after graduating worked as a psychiatric social worker in prisons.

Kay Carmichael

Kay Carmichael

In the 1960s, she became a lecturer at Glasgow University, setting up its probation training course, the first in the country. Her highly influential work contributed to the creation of children’s panels and the special unit at Barlinnie for violent offenders. She spent three months living undercover on a breadline income in Glasgow’s East End. This spell formed the basis of a landmark BBC documentary in 1977 which divided opinion but raised awareness of the levels of poverty and hardship facing many in modern Britain.

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Kay was once sentenced to two weeks in prison after planting flowers during a “guerilla raid” into Faslane naval base. After a few days in Cornton Vale, much to her annoyance, someone else paid up and she was released, late at night with no transport. Luckily a passing motorist picked her up and took her home; it turned out to be one of her former students.

An influential figure within the Labour movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Kay helped mould policies and across a range of divisive areas. She married twice, firstly to MP Neil Carmichael, with whom she had a daughter, Sheena, and secondly to David Donnison. Kay died in 2009.