A PLAQUE dedicated to the ‘originals’ who helped a renowned nature reserve become a protected site has been unveiled.

Alan Archer was one of three young men who – back in 1953 – sparked the genesis of an idea to make RSPB Old Moor what it is today.

It was upon reading of a theory by writer Ralph Chislett that said waders – birds commonly found along shorelines and mudflats – were passing through the Dearne Valley – that Alan and friends Colin Bower and Terence Kilburn decided to see for themselves.

The plaque was placed there as a result of their tireless work.

Alan, now 84 and living in Hoylandswaine, still visits the site.

He added: “Back in those days three of us lived in Worsbrough Dale and were bird watchers.

“It’s very popular for bird watchers and families, and has been very successful.

“In a way I am proud of the fact that so many people are getting enjoyment out of our efforts in the early days.”

Harry Wood, current visitor operations manager at Old Moor, added: “Back in the 1950s, 60s and right up to the 90s the area was one of the most ecologically deprived parts of Europe – it was a really bleak place.

“They started logging their findings of what they saw here, which essentially was the genesis of getting protection of the site.”