The pan fraternity in San Fernando is mourning the death of one of its youth mentors, Pete Braxton.
Braxton, 31, died on Wednesday after ailing for more than a year.
He was the son of former soldier Joseph Wayne Braxton and former nurse Gwendolyn Alleyne of Phillipine.
Braxton and his father, who also played with the army band, were music graduates of the University of the West Indies.
Braxton was a tutor with the Ministry of Education Pan in the Classroom Unit and a foundation member of Golden Hands Steel Orchestra of San Fernando. He was also affiliated with the Southernaires Choir.
At 15, he served as Golden Hands’ first captain and later became one of its directors.
Bandleader and founder, Franka Hills-Headley was heartbroken as she spoke of Braxton’s short but fulfilling life.
“He was the son that stood with me, Vanessa (her daughter) and Golden Hands through thick and thin. Not biological, but that is all that was missing.”
She said he toured extensively with the band and shared in over 100 of their championship trophies in competitions such as the TT Music Festival, Junior Steelband Festival and Pan is Beautiful.
Hills-Headley said although he was hospitalised, he keenly followed this year’s Panorama competition and was elated to learn of his “sister” Vanessa’s history-making activities arranging for three conventional bands in the three categories for the 2020 competition.
From his hospital bed he called and wished Golden Hands good luck just before their performance in the Small Bands finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah last weekend.
On Facebook, many people shared their memories of him describing him as a youth mentor to all young steelpan musicians, humble, a hardworking and selfless nurturer, a dedicated and respectful young man and a general “nice guy.”
Hills-Headley said he was also the main caregiver for his visually impaired mother, paralysed father, bed-ridden uncle and a huge dog.
Vanessa recalled that he saved her mother’s life.
“When I needed to get her (mom) to the hospital and our car wouldn’t start, Pete just happened to swing by just at the right time. When Sir Dane – our arranger and assistant director, fell ill, Pete did the needful and took care of him better than any of us could until Sir Dane’s last breath.
“I loved Pete and always will. I’m glad I got to tell him that a few days ago.”