Barry Hines: Kes to be shown at Whitley Bay Film Festival to honour author with Alzheimer's

Whitley Bay Film Festival will screen the movie Kes to help to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society

Barry Hines who wrote A Kestrel for a Knave
Barry Hines who wrote A Kestrel for a Knave

A film festival is helping to raise money for an Alzheimer’s charity in honour of an author whose book inspired the classic movie Kes.

Barry Hines wrote A Kestrel for a Knave, which was adapted for the big screen in 1969.

The award-winning picture, directed by Ken Loach, is now being shown as part of the Whitley Bay Film Festival, in North Tyneside. The story is of a troubled schoolboy living in a mining village near Barnsley who finds comfort in tending a kestrel named Kes.

Mr Hines, 74, suffers from dementia, and the screening will help to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

It will be shown at the Whitley Bay Football Club on August 29, from 6pm. Movie-goers will also get a chance to meet actor David Bradley who played Billy Casper in the film. There will also be a falconry display and a Whitley Bay Football Club under-12s match.

The festival organisers have received the backing of Mr Hines’ wife Eleanor, who lives in Yorkshire.

She said: “Barry has Alzheimer’s disease now and is very poorly but still has his personality and sense of fun and he would have loved to be there at Whitley Bay. The film Kes was a huge success and it helped to popularise the novel, to the extent that most people now call the book Kes.

“It always astonished Barry that nearly half a century later, it has still not gone out of fashion, or, even more saddening for him, not out of date.

“When comprehensive schools were created, he hoped that things would change, but today Billy Caspers are still being thrown on the scrap-heap. In the 1960s they could at least have got a job down the pit.

“Perhaps because circumstances for many working class young people have changed so little over the years, the story has retained its resonance for them. They feel he represents them and many others they know well.

“Being able to identify with a character in a book has a very powerful influence it seems, and Barry has received countless letters from people who tell him that the book has changed their lives.”

Festival organiser Dave Harland, who lives in Whitley Bay, said: “It should be a fantastic evening. We aim to stage films at appropriate venues and anyone who has seen Kes will know that a football ground is the perfect setting.

“We’ve got a special trick up our sleeves to make sure that everyone gets in the mood before the film starts. Unfortunately Eleanor won’t be there but the chat with David Bradley afterwards will be fascinating.”

The programme also includes a Superhero Day on Friday, when movies like Megamind, Kick Ass, Iron Man and The Dark Knight will be shown at the Spanish City Dome. Ticket holders are encouraged to come dressed as their own superhero creations.

For more details visit the website www.whitleybayfilmfestival.co.uk.

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