THE South Yorkshire story of Billy Casper has touched millions of people in the 45 years since it was published.
The Barnsley coalfield provided the backdrop to the tale of a boy and his bird of prey in A Kestrel for a Knave, which has been a popular choice of study for English teachers ever since it first hit the shelves in 1968.
Kes, the film of the book, followed in 1969, with director Ken Loach drawing many of the movie’s extras from nearby mining communities.
Now, to mark the opening of a new library in Hoyland, where many of the scenes were filmed, library staff are hoping to track down people involved.
Jill Craven of Barnsley Libraries, said the original idea had been a ‘mass giveaway’ of the novel, but the response to a revival of interest in the book and film had been huge and led to Made in Hoyland, a series of events which will celebrate the area’s role in bringing the story to life.
She said: “We wanted to celebrate the opening of the library, because it used to be in a portable building and now has a purpose-built space.
“We thought a book giveaway would be a good idea, but it grew from there.
Although author Barry Hines is unable to attend, actor David ‘Dai’ Bradley, who starred in the film, has agreed to take part and will give a talk on Kes and how it changed his life.
Ms Craven said events will be held in conjunction with Hoyland’s Kirk Balk Community School, where Hines was both a pupil and a teacher.
Memorabilia from Hines’ own collection, held by Sheffield University will also be on display at the library during the three-week event alongside any pieces brought forward by locals.
* If you were involved with the filming of Kes and want to offer anything for display, call 01226 355832.
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