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.

Latest Newham Stories


East London enjoyed a decent start to the new season with seven wins and four draws in 17 matches.

Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre

The O’s moved to the top of the table on Saturday after an excellent victory on the road

Josh Koroma
39 minutes ago

Newham’s mayor spoke of an “epidemic of violence” in London at the Labour Party Conference.

Labour Party

Lakeside Hammers face a 14-point deficit after the first leg of their KO Cup quarter-final having lost 52-38 at Peterborough on Sunday.

Richard Lawson

The most popular names given to baby boys and girls last year in East London suggests that where you live could influence what name you choose for your child.

United Kingdom

An inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal which left at least 2,400 people dead has begun today.

A five-car collision on the A13 in Rainham is causing lengthy delays on the eastbound carriageway while emergency services respond to the incident.

Metropolitan Police


Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now