SINGER and presenter Aled Jones has paid tribute to author and illustrator Raymond Briggs who has died aged 88.

He was best-known for the 1978 children’s picture book The Snowman while Jones, a chorister from Ynys Mon, rose to fame as a teenager after he covered Walking in the Air, the song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of the book.

Speaking on his Classic FM radio show on Wednesday, Jones paid tribute to Briggs, saying: “What a legacy he leaves behind.

“His books have touched millions of people all around the world, and what a debt of gratitude I owe to his greatest creation of all. Thank you, Raymond.”

He then played the classic song in memory of the late author.

A statement from the author's 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."

They also said how he enjoyed holidays to Wales: “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.

The National Wales: Raymond Briggs, second left, was among authors who presented a recommended reading list, for Margaret Thatcher, at No10 Downing Street to support book action for Nuclear Disarmament at the start of the National Peace Book Week in 1985. Picture: PARaymond Briggs, second left, was among authors who presented a recommended reading list, for Margaret Thatcher, at No10 Downing Street to support book action for Nuclear Disarmament at the start of the National Peace Book Week in 1985. Picture: PA

“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’.”

Among his other books was How the Wind Blows a 1982 animated graphic novel which told of a nuclear attack on Britain from the viewpoint of an elderly couple. It was also made into an animated film.

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