Kes: Barnsley unveils statue tribute to author Barry Hines

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Statue of Billy Casper, Barnsley
Image caption,
The statue is modelled on Billy Casper, as portrayed by Dai Bradley in Ken Loach's adaptation of Barry Hines' 1968 novel

A statue based on the main character from 1960s classic Kes has been unveiled in the author's home town.

Barry Hines, from Barnsley, published the story - of a boy who adopts a wild kestrel - in 1968, and it was adapted for the screen a year later.

Director Ken Loach and star Dai Bradley, who played tearaway protagonist Billy Casper, both attended the unveiling of the bronze sculpture.

Bradley praised the "wonderful" statue, which was funded by public donations.

The actor thanked those who had helped to raise £100,000 and said artist Graham Ibbeson had done a "remarkable job" on the life-sized piece.

He believed it would "inspire generations to come", he said.

Image source, Brian Punter-Mathews
Image caption,
Dai Bradley, left, and Ken Loach said they were impressed by the statue

Loach said it was a "privilege" to be at the unveiling to remember Barry Hines and his "great writing".

He said the statue of Billy, with Kes perched on his falconry glove, captured the central image of the film.

"A boy, nobody thought he was worth anything, no time for him and yet he had a special quality that we see but no-one else does and that's the bird.

"The bird flies free but he remains rooted to the earth with very few choices."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Dai Bradley's portrayal of Billy Casper helped to make the film a well-regarded classic

Sculptor Mr Ibbeson, who donated his services for free, said he had envisioned the statue as a piece that would "go in the street, amongst the community and he is very much part of that community".

Barry Hines wrote a number of novels, radio plays and TV films, alongside A Kestrel for a Knave.

His other notable works include the 1984 drama-documentary Threads, which depicted a nuclear attack on Sheffield.

He also taught PE at a local secondary school.

He died in 2016 at the age of 76.

The idea for the tribute came from Ronnie Steele, a former pupil of Barry Hines, who set up a committee to plan the project in 2018.

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