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Charity reveals Raymond Briggs made annual donations in honour of his wife

The author’s wife Jean died from leukaemia in 1973.

Designer deckchairs in Hyde Park
Designer deckchairs in Hyde Park

A blood cancer charity has hailed the late Raymond Briggs a “quietly generous man” who supported them for years in memory of his wife.

Briggs’ family announced in a statement through his publisher, Penguin Random House, that he died at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning.

Following the news, Blood Cancer UK revealed that The Snowman creator made annual donations to their research after his wife Jean died from leukaemia in 1973.

In a statement to the PA news agency, head of philanthropy at Blood Cancer UK Tom Tyler, said: “We’re grateful to have been supported by Raymond, who was a quietly generous man for a number of years following the death of his wife in 1973 from blood cancer.

“We’re sad to hear of his passing and are sending our sympathies to his close friends and family.”

In a tribute shared to Twitter, they added: “Thank you Raymond for your years of support, and for the joy your stories brought to so many.”

Briggs was best known for creating the classic 1978 picture book The Snowman, which has sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world.

Raymond Briggs death
Briggs’ family announced in a statement through his publisher that he died at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning (Anthony Devlin/PA)

An animated version of the book made for Channel 4 in 1982 has become a festive staple and has been shown on TV every Christmas since.

His other best-known works were published between 1973 and 1984 and also included Father Christmas Goes On Holiday and The Tin-Pot Foreign General And The Old Iron Woman.

He won numerous prizes during his career, including the Kurt Maschler Award, the Children’s Book of the Year and the Dutch Silver Pen Award.

Following the news of this death, prominent children’s authors, including former Children’s Laureates Michael Rosen and Cressida Cowell, have paid tribute to Briggs and his literary legacy.

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