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Man Who Inspired Kes PE Teacher Passes Away

Thursday April 25 2013

We Are Barnsley We Are Barnsley

A FORMER teacher who was the basis for a central character in the book, A Kestrel for a Knave, has died.

Ronnie Hallam, 81, was the inspiration for PE teacher Mr Sugden, famously played by Brian Glover in the film adaptation, Kes.

Ronnie died in hospital last Saturday - after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's.

His son, Ray, 56, said Ronnie was a much-loved character and will be greatly missed.

Ronnie was a very sporty person and was involved in football, cricket and golf and Ray said he had that competitiveness about him and a desire to win, much like the character of Mr Sugden.

His widow Jannice, 77, said: "One of Barry's close friends told us that the character was based on Ronnie and there were plenty of representations in him that showed that."

The family said they were told Ronnie became the inspiration for Mr Sugden after he played football with the author, Barry Hines, as a boy and Ronnie got Barry a job at Kirk Balk, where he saw how passionate Ronnie was about sport.

Throughout his life, Ronnie played semi-professional football for Rotherham United and York City as well as stints at Elsecar and Rockingham cricket clubs. He also taught PE at Kirk Balk School for 35 years.

He took early retirement when PE became more of an academic subject as it would have taken him off of the field and out of the gym.

Jannice said that Ronnie was a true sportsman and had a real passion for anything he played.

"He was playing a cricket match once and the ball hit him on the head and knocked him out. He went to hospital and came back before the end of the game to finish his innings."

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Reply Posted by lynn cusworth gibson on Thursday April 25 2013 at 09:34
r.i.p mr hallam

Reply Posted by Kathy Sykes on Thursday April 25 2013 at 09:41
RIP Mr Hallam x you were a friend and fellow sportsman with my Dad and you paid your respects when he was taken away. You were a legend at Kirk Balk and I don't know anyone who didn't respect you. You will be sadly missed. My deepest sympathies to Mrs Hallam and all your children, grandchildren etc. Xxx

Reply Posted by sandra on Thursday April 25 2013 at 09:51
R.I.P Mr. Hallam, always had the greatest of respect for him, firm but fair, as Kathy Sykes said a legend admired and respected by everyone.
Sympathy for all the family X

Reply Posted by Rich on Thursday April 25 2013 at 09:59
"He was playing a cricket match once and the ball hit him on the head and knocked him out. He went to hospital and came back before the end of the game to finish his innings."


Reply Posted by ray hallam on Friday April 26 2013 at 19:03
sincere thanks to everyone for their kind words about our dad from all the family. the world seems a different place but we are so proud of him

Reply Posted by Martin Dodson on Wednesday May 1 2013 at 21:59
Desperately sad to hear this news. A legend, a gentleman and a hero, the inspiration for my career as a teacher. My thoughts and best wishes to all the family.

Reply Posted by Liz Ashton on Wednesday May 1 2013 at 22:45
My Mum was a supply teacher in all of the schools in Barnsley for over 25 years. I know she worked with Mr Hallam when I was a kid. She had many good things to say about his passion and commitment to teaching, especially the boys who other staff and subjects found hard to reach. Rest in peace.

Reply Posted by Cathy on Thursday May 2 2013 at 08:29
I remember him from my time as a pupil at Kirk Balk, he taught PE to both my brothers. He was a larger than life character around school, always happy and full of energy. A positive and vibrant character. RIP Ronnie.

Reply Posted by Jeremy Warner on Monday March 21 2016 at 13:35
So sad to hear of Ronnie's death. I have many memories of working with him for nine years at Kirk Balk. Everybody remembers Ronnie as a sportsman and a PE teacher in the classic manner but I also remember him as a first class ballroom dancer. Also some of the political arguments with Barry Hines in the staff room were priceless. Happy memories

Reply Posted by Matt Hallam on Tuesday May 17 2016 at 09:55
Cant believe it is 3 years since I lost my best fiend. I miss him so much, even those sometimes distressing visits during his long illness. I have nothing but pride and admiration for the way he approached his life and how he accepted his lot when diagnosed will Alzheimers. Every day of happiness is tarnished by his absence however he lives on in me and my children who unfortunately they did not benefit from long as the fantastic grandad he was. There isn't a day that passes without some reference or comment to him in my family. He had so many traits to his character but I will always remember the fun we shared together....irreplaceable