A LEGENDARY Tameside cartoonist, whose familiar work featured in some of the biggest titles, has tragically died.
Tony Husband, of Hyde, passed away after suffering a heart attack on London’s Westminster Bridge as he made his way to a party celebrating 30 years of satirical magazine Private Eye.
He even sent a final sketch to a friend on the train to the capital, in case he was late.
And after the tragedy, on Wednesday, October 18, son Paul paid tribute to his 73-year-old dad.
In a statement on social media, he said: “My dad passed away as he was on his way to a Private Eye leaving party on a Thames barge. Something that meant a hell of a lot to him.
”He had a heart attack on Westminster Bridge.
“It’s somewhat ironic that he somehow managed to survive 30 years of Private Eye parties but the one he didn’t make…
“I don’t know what more I can say other than he was everything to me and everything want to be.”
Tony entertained readers for years after his work appeared in national newspapers such as The Times, Daily Mail and Sunday Express as well as magazines ranging from Playboy to The Spectator.
But his contributions to the title in which he had featured in every issue since 1985 – provided the title to a major exhibition earlier this year, 37-and-a-half years in Private Eye.
Speaking about the event at Gallery Oldham, Councillor Elaine Taylor, deputy leader of Oldham Council and cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “Tony is one of the most famous cartoonists in England.
“He has a huge portfolio and I think it’s fair to say most people will have seen and be familiar with his work even if you didn’t know Tony had drawn it.
“But it’s not just his artwork that makes Tony so popular, his support and championing of the dementia community has helped raise awareness.”
Stephen Fry said Tony is one of the greats and Griff Rhys Jones commented that he ‘is even funnier than me.’
He recently contributed lyrics to a song by artist Sean Taylor about dementia, called It’s Ready But I forgot.
And he has not been afraid to comment on local issues in his own inimitable style, contributing in his own way to discussion around Godley Green Garden Village.
Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, Tony grew up locally, living on a small holding at Rhodes Fold Cottage on Apple Street, which runs from Stockport Road to Werneth Low.
His studio, where he drew ‘silly and sad things,’ stands in his home on Joel Lane, and he regularly posted photos showing the scenery around him.
He recalled loving have pigs, with a social media comment showing how big an impact they had on his life.
Tony wrote: “Every time it saw me, it would run over and we’d have a rough and tumble in the mud.
“l loved the pigs. Hated coming home from school and they’d all be gone. Main reason l’m a veggie that pig.”
After the news, tributes poured in, with renowned artist Stanley Chow saying: “One of Britain’s greatest cartoonists. He was such a legend, yet so humble.
“But most all, just one of the kindest and soundest souls you’ll ever meet.”
Hyde’s MP, Jonathan Reynolds, revealed the personal contribution Tony made to his life, saying: “Tony was an extraordinary talent and his work spoke volumes.
“As well as local publications he created satirical illustrations for Private Eye, The Times and The Sunday Times.
“We have a lovely little cartoon he did on our daughter’s birth on our wall.”
Hyde War Memorial Trust, saluted Tony’s life, saying: “Tony was a treasured friend and supporter of the Trust.
“We were honoured by his generosity in providing his art work, poetry and presence for the work of Trust and the wider community.
“Along with his father Ron, our original archivist, he will be forever remembered with gratitude and love.
“We offer our condolences to his dear family and many friends.”
Gee Cross’ Queen Adelaide pub added its tribute, saying: “It is with a very heavy heart we have to inform you that our good friend Tony Husband has passed away.
“We are all devastated at this news, our deepest and heartfelt condolences to all the Husband family at this heartbreaking time.”