FORMER Castle School music teacher Gill Holmes has been honoured with a special prize for more than 30 years of inspiring children.

Mrs Holmes, who worked at the Castle School for many years, was awarded the prestigious St George’s Prize for Music, following her continued work with young people as director of the school’s steel band, Panache.

The St George’s Prize is presented each year to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to making music in the community.

Having introducing the genre to the school in the 1980’s, Mrs Holmes has grown the band into a true Thornbury institution, with students regularly performing at a number of major events in the area.

Since its formation, many generations of Panache have also taken the music abroad, with tours to France, Germany and even Barbados.

The award was presented at a special gala concert at St George’s, Bristol, on January 29, which also saw a special half-hour-long performance from Panache – which was described by presenter Laura Tanner as “like listening to sunshine”.

Having nominated Mrs Holmes for the award, Elaine Lunts and Chris White-Horne, both parents of band members, praised her on behalf of all the parents for her “tireless and inspirational work”.