Musician credited with introducing steel pan lessons in British schools dies

PUBLISHED: 11:49 06 December 2017

Gerald Forsyth OBE. Picture credit: Richard Peltier.

Gerald Forsyth OBE. Picture credit: Richard Peltier.

Richard Peltier

A man credited with introducing steel pan lessons in mainstream british schools in the late 1960s has died.

Gerald Forsyth OBE, who migrated to the UK from Trinidad and Tobago in 1962 and lived in Newham during the 1970s, used his musical abilities to spread the instrument’s message to thousands of school students during his lifetime.

He established lessons at Islington Green School in London in 1969 and later became the ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) inspector of music for steel pan.

He also performed regular gigs at London’s Albany Pub in band Invaders Combo.

Former student Richard Peltier described him as “the Liberace of steel pans” and said he had “opened many doors”.

“He was always smiling, always joking,” he said, adding Gerald would be remembered for his charisma.

“95 per cent of schools have steel pans that come from Gerald.”

Gerald passed away last month and his funeral took place in Forest Gate.

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