Lloyd Jones’ son, Ollie, passed away after the 4-year-old lost his battle with a rare genetic disease.
His family celebrated Ollie’s life with a Spider-Man themed sendoff, complete with a horse-drawn carriage decorated in red and blue balloons. Wanting to further honor his brave little boy, Lloyd planned on having the superhero’s likeness etched onto Ollie’s headstone. The grieving father requested permission from the local council who then pointed him to the copyright owner – Disney.
“I felt sure they would allow it,” Lloyd told British newspaper Metro.
So when the media giant denied his request, citing their desire to preserve the “innocence and magic” of their characters, the UK dad was both disappointed and shocked.
The company responded in an email, telling the family: “We follow a policy that began with Walt Disney himself that does not permit the use of characters on headstones, cemetery or other memorial markers or funeral urns.”
Instead, the company offered to send the family a hand-painted, personalized drawing, with a message of thanks to Ollie for being a fan. “Although we cannot grant the family’s request, we would be pleased to commemorate your nephew with a hand-inked, hand-painted, personalized cel that recognizes his love for Spider-Man, which will read: ‘For your ——- (nephew’s name), Thank you for letting us share in the magic of your life.”
Lloyd’s brother, Jason, who had written the original request on behalf of his nephew, said the family was devastated. “This meant everything to us. My brother’s life has been shattered, it has shattered the whole family,” adding “We can’t move on until we have his headstone done – Spider-Man was Ollie’s entire life. He loved it so much.”
A Maidstone Borough Council spokeswoman said they would continue to do everything they could to assist the family in making their wish a reality, however, their hands are tied when it comes to issues such as this. “Sadly, these types of stones have to adhere to copyright and while we understand this is a very emotional time for the family we have made contact with Marvel to ensure the family are complying with their terms and conditions.”
Just yesterday Lloyd announced via Facebook that someone had started a petition in his son’s honor: