Rethink Mental Illness treasures the generous legacy of cherished illustrator Raymond Briggs CBE


Photo credit: David Sandison

We are honoured to share that we are one of three charities left a gift in the will of beloved author and illustrator Raymond Briggs CBE, a lifetime member of our charity.  

Briggs, who died in 2022, was best known for classic children’s books such as Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman and The Snowman. He also wrote graphic novels for adults, like Ethel & Ernest and Time for Lights Out. His books have sold over 8.5 million copies worldwide in 24 languages, with many successfully adapted for the screen.  

His connection to our cause dates back to the early seventies, coinciding with when the charity was founded as the National Schizophrenia Fellowship. Brigg’s wife, Jean Taprell Clarke, lived with schizophrenia and references to the challenges of those times can be found in the pages of Raymond’s work.  

Jean, also a talented artist, sadly died in 1973 of leukemia (a form of blood cancer), but Raymond’s connection to our cause remained strong, and he became a lifetime member of the charity in 1991.  

Rethink Mental Illness will benefit from Briggs’ legacy, alongside fellow charities Blood Cancer UK and Parkinson’s UK.  

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “The work of Raymond Briggs is instantly recognisable and treasured by us all, and we are honoured to be part of his legacy. 

"It’s been very moving to reflect on Raymond and Jean’s experiences half a century ago, and how that threads through the years to work that we do today to support thousands of people severely affected by mental illness.  

“We are beyond grateful for this gift. It will make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people we support, whether that be responding to calls and emails through our advice and information service, our peer support groups helping people feel less isolated, or our accommodation services providing people with a place to call home so they can focus on their recovery. The impact of Raymond’s legacy will be felt for years to come and we will be forever thankful.”