Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley teenager awarded falconry 'Kes Award'

Ken Loach's film, Kes, tells the story of a boy who turned his life around after forging a bond with a bird of prey.

Forty years after the film was made, life is now imitating art as a teenager from Barnsley has turned his troublesome past into a positive future.

Ben Brettoner, who completed an eight-week course in falconry is being given an award for training a Harris Hawk, as part of his school curriculum.

The course was set up by Chris Corker, a falconry expert from Bradford, to help the 16-year-old who was misbehaving and getting into trouble with the police.

Mr Corker, who works as a housing officer in Barnsley, met Ben when attending family intervention meetings.

Image caption The eight-week course was funded by Carlton Community College

'Changed everything'

He said: "I'd heard his brother had a Harris Hawk and knew he had an interest so I put a proposal together and he said he would be interested."

After persuading Ben's school, Carlton Community College, to back the project, Mr Corker arranged for the teengaer to attend the CMJ Falconry Centre once a week to learn how to feed and manage the birds of prey.

Ben from Athersley North said the course had "changed everything" and he now hoped to pursue a career in falconry when he leaves school later this year.

He is due to be presented with a "Kes award" on Friday by Dai Bradley, who played Billy Casper in the film.

Ben's school Carlton Community College was also used in the 1969 film, the school which was then called St Helen's.

Margaret Brettoner, Ben's mother, said that he used to "be in trouble all the time".

She added: "I thought he was going to end up getting himself locked up but not now, he's changed."

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