McFly praise Raymond Briggs for ‘bringing our childhood imaginations to life’

Prominent literary figures and famous faces have paid tribute to Briggs and shared how his work impacted their lives.

10 August 2022

McFly have praised The Snowman creator Raymond Briggs for “bringing our childhood imaginations to life” in a tribute to the late author following his death.

The author and illustrator, who also wrote Father Christmas, Fungus The Bogeyman and When The Wind Blows, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 88, his family announced.

Following the news, prominent literary figures and famous faces have shared how Briggs and his work impacted their lives.

The pop band McFly wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Raymond Briggs for bringing our childhood imaginations to life”.

They also shared an audio clip of them covering Walking In The Air, the song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film The Snowman, based on Briggs’s picture book.

In his own tribute posted to Instagram, the band’s singer Tom Fletcher added that Briggs’s work had “shaped his childhood” and “fuelled his lifelong love of Christmas”.

Sharing images of the author and his books The Snowman and Father Christmas, he added: “His magical work is timeless.”

Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, who wrote We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, tweeted: “Raymond Briggs… RIP xxxx. You are fantastic…”

How To Train Your Dragon author and fellow former Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell reflected on how his work had “inspired so many”.

She wrote on Twitter: “Deeply sad to hear of the death of Raymond Briggs.

“What a magnificent legacy he leaves, from his iconic Father Christmas and the Snowman to the terrifying Where The Wind Blows.

“His books brought so much joy and inspired so many, touching, hilarious and heartbreaking work. RIP.”

British author Lara Maiklem, who worked with Briggs, said she was a “huge fan” of his since she was a child.

Sharing a picture of his illustration of Fungus The Bogeyman, she wrote: “So sad to hear about Raymond Briggs this morning.

“A huge fan since I was a child, I had the great fortune of working with him a few years ago. Grumpy and difficult, he was nonetheless a genius.

“Nothing is permanent but woe.”

Stand-up comedian and Mock The Week regular Angela Barnes also praised his work, saying: “Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the brilliantly satirical When The Wind Blows, the book and film, despite the recurring nightmares they provide.

“And of course no childhood is complete without The Snowman or Fungus The Bogeyman. RIP Raymond Briggs. I adore your work.”

Poet and author Salena Godden hailed Briggs’s 1982 graphic novel When The Wind Blows, about a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union from the viewpoint of a retired couple.

She tweeted: “When this was first published and read it I felt understood. I was a kid but here was an adult eloquently voicing my teenage concerns and greatest fears, one of my biggest fears was that the people will be lied to and killed in their beds. Visionary. Rest in power!”

Author and illustrator Stephen Savage described Briggs as a “kids book giant”.

He added: “As a creator of wordless books, I was always in awe of his miraculous book, The Snowman.”

The University of Brighton reflected on its “long standing connection” to the author, who was a native to the city and was an illustration tutor in the School of Art in the 1960s.

The university added: “May his incredible works continue to bring inspiration magic and joy.”

The official Twitter account of The Snowman tweeted: “It’s with great sadness that we share the passing of Raymond Briggs.

“Raymond’s best known work is The Snowman, a pioneering picture book, a radical and beautiful innovation: a picture book without words.”

The Royal Society of Literature, of which Briggs was a fellow from 1993, said it was “saddened” to hear about his death, and sent condolences to his family.

Book-seller Waterstones said its staff were moved by the news and described Briggs as “a fearless innovator and true original in his field”.

A tweet added: “From Fungus The Bogeyman to Father Christmas, Where The Wind Blows to the iconic The Snowman, he will live on in these books that have enchanted us all for decades.”

Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, said: “Everyone at BookTrust is devastated to hear the news about Raymond Briggs. The author and illustrator of The Snowman, Fungus The Bogeyman and so many other wonderful books have shaped the childhoods of generations of children, and inspired so many families to find the joy of sharing stories together.

“Raymond had an illustrious career and won the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was unashamed to tackle life’s tough challenges through his books in a natural and engaging way, enabling children to feel less alone.

“He will live on in his iconic books, which have brought so much joy to so many, and we are so grateful that he chose to share his incredible gifts with us.”

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