A grieving family battling entertainment giant Disney has been told to tear down the plastic marker they put on their late son’s grave – because it has Spider-Man on it.
Lloyd Jones and his family have been dealt another devastating blow during the fight to give four-year-old Ollie Jones an etching of his favourite superhero on his grave – when the council told them to remove the temporary plastic marker.
The marker, which they hope will be the final design of the grave, features a tasteful coloured image of the web slinger, as well as a touching message to the little lad, who passed away in December.
Lloyd, 36 of Barming, Kent, said: “We put up a temporary plastic grave last week.
“I loved it and I’m sure Ollie does too.
“The council told us to take it down as soon as they found out. They told us we couldn’t have it.”
The Walt Disney Company told Ollie’s family they could not put a Spider-Man headstone at the four-year-old’s grave, because they wanted to preserve the “innocence” and “magic” of its characters.
Company directors are now facing mounting pressure to reverse the ban after Ollie’s story reached a worldwide audience and an online petition amassed just under 145,000 signatures.
A Maidstone Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Sadly, all types of headstones have to adhere to copyright and whilst we understand that this is a very emotional time for the family, we have asked them to remove it.
“Maidstone Borough Council Bereavement Services team will do everything they can to help the family.”
Lloyd has been so worked up about the row he ended up in hospital with severe, stress-induced chest pains.
The dad-of-six said: “I’m trying to take it a bit easier, I threw myself into work after Ollie died, now I think I need to slow down a bit.”
Ollie died last December after a two-year battle with leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease also shared by his six-year-old sister Laillah.
A huge Spider-Man fan, Ollie’s funeral was led by the Marvel character and featured a horse drawn carriage decorated in red and blue balloons.
The family’s local MP, Helen Whately, has also written to Disney demanding the company show some compassion.
The company’s refusal to allow the headstone at Maidstone Cemetery, Kent, has baffled the family.
Marvel – which Disney bought in 2009 – allowed a drawing of Iron Man to appear on a child’s headstone last year.
The firm has not explained why it approved of the Iron Man headstone and not the Jones’ Spider-Man design.
A US copyright lawyer has contacted the family, offering to take Disney on, pro-bono, to get Ollie’s gravestone approved.
Lloyd said: “My brother got a letter through from a lawyer. It says he has taken on Disney before and won.
“I don’t know exactly how it all works, but it’s nice there’s all this support.”