Raymond Briggs the illustrator and author behind the classic novel like The Snowman, Father Christmas and Ethel and Ernest has passed away aged 88.
A statement from his family said: “We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news. Drawings from fans – especially children’s drawings – inspired by his books were treasured by Raymond and pinned up on the wall of his studio.
“He lived a rich and full life, and said he felt lucky to have had both his wife Jean, and his partner of over 40 years Liz in his life.
“He shared his love of nature with Liz on South Downs walks and on family holidays to Scotland and Wales. He also shared his sense of fun and craziness with his family, and with his family of artist friends – at get-togethers, fancy dress parties and summer picnics in the garden.
“He played practical jokes and enjoyed them being played on him. All of us close to him knew his irreverent humour – this could be biting in his work when it came to those in power. He liked the Guardian editorial describing himself as an ‘iconoclastic national treasure’.”
Briggs is best known for The Snowman which became a cult hit after an animated film about the book, starring David Bowie, was released in 1982.
However, Briggs also worked on another graphic novel and animated film that doesn't quite have the same reputation but is equally as important and profound: When The Wind Blows.
Warning: This article does contain spoilers for When The Wind Blows.
The graphic novel was released in 1982 and the feature animated film was released in 1986. It focuses solely on an elderly couple named Jim and Hilda Bloggs who live in the English countryside amid a backdrop of international tensions.
Although they don't fully understand the complete complications of the matter they go through with the necessary procedures to ensure that they could survive a nuclear attack including building a shelter in their home.
Inevitably the worse happens when a nuclear bomb is dropped on England. Although the couple survives the initial explosion the remainder of the story sees them attempting to deal with the harrowing fallout of the nuclear bomb while slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning.
When the Wind Blows 1986 Trailer | Peggy Ashcroft | John Millswww.youtube.com
Given the tensions around the world at the moment, in Ukraine and China especially, Briggs's passing is reminding people just how powerful his novel was.
\u201cFarewell Raymond Briggs. When The Wind Blows has to be one of the most upsetting experiences of my childhood.\u201d
\u201cvery sad to hear about Raymond Briggs. Obviously The Snowman made me (quite memorably) SOB as a child (I kept asking where he'd gone at the end) but given current events I have already been thinking a lot about When the Wind Blows\u201d
\u201cI know everyone will remember Raymond Briggs for The Snowman, but for me it\u2019s When the Wind Blows. Quietly devastating and human, a work of real genius.\u201d
— Helen the Zen \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f \ud83d\udc99 (@Helen the Zen \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f \ud83d\udc99)
\u201cSaddened to hear of the death of Raymond Briggs. \nHe illustrated and wrote one of the books that had the profoundest impact on me, When The Wind Blows. Simple, short, yet devastatingly effective.\nThis graphic novel is truly a gift to humanity. \nThank you, Raymond.\nPeace\u262e\ufe0f\u201d
— Mabon ap Gwynfor AS \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f (@Mabon ap Gwynfor AS \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f)
\u201cSad to hear of the death of Raymond Briggs. When the Wind Blows was as powerful as Threads in changing hearts and minds about nuclear disarmament and made a huge impact on me. \nA genius at making pictures worth a thousand words\u201d