Grieving family refused permission for Spider-Man headstone

Two Spider-Man characters jump in front of a Spider-Man float at the world premiere of "Spider-Man: Far From Home" on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Council bosses have told a grieving dad he needs permission from Hollywood studio Marvel to get a Spider-Man headstone for his late four-year-old son.

Ollie Jones died in December after battling leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease. He was buried at Maidstone Cemetery, Kent, and his family hope to mark his grave with a specially designed Spider-Man headstone. But Maidstone Borough Council said it needs permission from Marvel, which owns the rights to the comic book character, to approve it.

His dad Lloyd Jones, 36, said: "At the moment I go to his grave and see flowers, it would be nice to have something that really reminds me of him."

The father-of-six has a daughter, Laillah, six, who suffers with the same condition as Ollie. Leukodystrophy effects one in 40,000 people in the UK, and is brought on by a genetic fault.

The late Ollie Jones with his dad Lloyd. (SWNS)

Lloyd, from Barming, Maidstone, said: "It's a fatal condition. It affects them from the age of about two and then most people with it live to around 20.

"It's not painful, but it disrupts their muscles. You try and put a shirt or their trousers on and their muscles can tense up. In the end Ollie could only move his hands to play with his toys."

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Having set up a tyre shop three years ago, Lloyd dedicates his time to giving his children the best life possible.

Young Ollie's funeral had a visit from Spider-Man and red and blue balloons adorned a horse drawn carriage.

Lloyd said: "It's been awful, but we've made the most of it.

The late Ollie Jones. (SWNS)

"We're all away at theme parks and museums and all sorts of things every weekend.

"Last year we went to Disneyland Paris, we were supposed to go again this year with Ollie.

"We went last year with my girlfriend, we had two children in wheelchairs to get into rides and then four other children to look after. I lost more than a stone in weight on that holiday."

Ollie's uncle, Jason Jones, 37. said: "This means everything to us.

"My brother's life has been shattered, it has shattered the whole family.

"We can't move on until we have his headstone done - Spider-Man was Ollie's entire life. He loved it so much.

"His coffin was covered in Spider-Man, the procession was led by someone dressed as Spider-Man, this would really mean the world to us.

The Spider-Man headstone the family want for Ollie. (SWNS)

"I didn't expect it to be an issue - my funeral director, who's also my friend, rang me and told me they can't do it. I though he was joking at first.

"We understand copyright but I don’t see why Marvel would have any issues with this.

"We've tried every email address and number we can find but so far we haven’t heard anything back from Marvel."

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A Maidstone Borough Council spokeswoman said: "Maidstone Borough Council is trying to help a family who have asked whether they can place a Spider-Man headstone at the grave of their young son.

"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.

"The MBC Bereavement Services team will do everything they can to help the family throughout this process."

Reporting by SWNS.