BAFTA award-winning British film director Ken Loach visited Hoyland Common yesterday for the unveiling of a blue plaque in memory of celebrated Barnsley author Barry Hines.

The Kes director told the Chronicle yesterday he was ‘thrilled’ that the plaque had been installed on the front of the Kestrel for a Knave author’s former home.

“It’s a marvellous tribute to a renowned author whose novels are still being read and celebrated across the globe,” the multi award-winning director and friend of the late author said.

“The day itself has been wonderful and the turn out to celebrate Barry’s work is amazing.”

Barry, who died in 2016, wrote a number of classic novels, including A Kestrel for a Knave, which was later studied in schools and became the iconic award-winning film Kes.

In Text Promo Image

To celebrate both what would have been Barry’s 80th birthday, and the 50th anniversary of Kes, a ceremony was held at Hoyland Common to unveil the blue plaque.

Starting from the Saville Square pub, friends, family and fans of Barry - including legendary award-winning film director Ken Loach - made their way to his old address of 78 Hoyland Road behind a brass band procession.

They gathered to watch the unveiling of the plaque by Barry’s brother, Richard Hines, whose fascination with birds as a youngster inspired Barry’s most famous book.

“The idea of a blue plaque started about eight years ago, and to see the seed of an idea turn out to be such a successful event is unbelievable really,” explained Ronnie Steele, chairman of The Barry Hines Memorial Statue Project.

“This is a wonderful achievement in bringing recognition to Barry throughout generations now and to come.”

The installation of the plaque was a joint venture between The Yorkshire Society, which is an organisation that aims to promote Yorkshire’s economy, history, heritage and beauty, and the statue project, a group of volunteers who are fundraising to get a permanent statue erected in Barry’s memory.

Author Milly Johnson, who is both a member of the statue project and vice president of The Yorkshire Society, said: “One minute it seemed like just an idea and now everything’s starting to come together - even the sun made an appearance for us.

“The plaque is gorgeous and it’s just what Hoyland Common needs.”

Milly, who has always been a huge fan of Barry and credits him with inspiring her to become a novelist, said Barry’s legacy was ‘simply amazing’ and it was wonderful that his texts are still studied in schools today.

“We set out what we wanted to do and I’m just so happy it’s all finally coming together,” she said.

A life-size bronze sculpture to commemorate Barry, created by Barnsley artist Graham Ibbeson, will be displayed in the Library @ the Lightbox as a temporary display until a permanent home is found for the statue.