- Disabled Simon Thomason barred from regular visits to Legoland
- 40-year-old has cerebral palsy, autism and a metal age of seven
- Attraction also barred Anthony Lewis, 20, who has Williams Syndrome
- Legoland Discovery Centre refuses entry to adults without children
- Policy branded ‘unfair’ and ‘ridiculous’ by families of disabled men
- Say the policy at the centre in Manchester is ‘reasonable and appropriate’
- Offer evenings for adults but say if it is difficult could arrange for manager to take men round
A disabled man with the mental age of seven has been barred from his regular visits to Legoland with his carer because of ‘child protection’ fears.
Simon Thomason, 40, who has cerebral palsy, autism and a mental age of seven, has been told his annual pass to the Manchester-based attraction will not be renewed.
Legoland Discovery Centre say they have a policy of refusing entry to adults without children and have defended their decision to turn away Mr Thomason, who was accompanied by an adult carer.
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Simon Thomason, 40, who has the mental age of seven, has been barred from Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester
But families and disability campaigners have slammed the policy as ‘discrimination’ and say it effectively bans their childless relatives from the attraction.
Mr Thomason’s sister, Paula, 41, from Irlam, in Greater Manchester, bought the £60 annual pass for her brother last year after explaining his condition to staff.
But after seven months of weekly visits to the attraction in the Trafford Centre Mr Thomason was told he was no longer welcome due to ‘child protection’.
He was instead offered a pass for alternative venues run by parent group Merlin Attractions elsewhere in the UK.
When Miss Thomason argued this was unfair, management said they would honour the last five months on the pass but it would not be renewed.
The family also now have to email in advance before he can visit.
And in another case, a 20-year-old man with learning disabilities and his carer were also refused entry.
The Legoland Discovery Centre, pictured, has a policy of not allowing adults to visit if not accompanied by a child
Elaine Lewis’s son Anthony, 20, who has Williams Syndrome and the mental age of six, was also turned away when he tried to visit this week.
Mr Lewis’s carer was also told adults without children were not allowed entry.
The mother, from Gatley, Stockport, said: ‘The ridiculous thing is Simon would be allowed in if he went with a child – but neither would be able to look after each other.
‘He just wants to go and play with the Lego and look at the models.’
Clare Lucas, activism lead at charity Mencap, also slammed the decision.
She said: ‘It is unfortunate Legoland Discovery’s policy has had a negative effect on someone with a learning disability who wanted to go out and access leisure activities many people take for granted.
Simon Thomas, pictured with his sister Paula, 41, had been visiting the attraction on a weekly basis for seven monthswhen he was told he was no longer welcome
The attraction, aimed at three to 10 year olds, features 4D cinema, laser ride, driving school, and offers workshops with master builders.
It states on the Discovery Centre website that adults must be accompanied by children to visit.
But a spokesman for Legoland Discovery Centre said: ‘Our policy not to permit entry to groups of adults, adult couples, or lone adults, regardless of circumstances, who are not accompanied by a child or children under the age of 16 is we believe therefore appropriate and the best way to constantly maintain a welcoming environment for our young visitors.
Anthony Lewis, 20, who has Williams Syndrome and the mental age of six, was also refused entry to the attraction
‘We make no apologies for this policy and believe it to be reasonable and appropriate, and one on which we make no exceptions.
‘That said, we also very much appreciate the continuing appeal that LEGO has for all ages, and it has never been our intention to deny access to our adult fans, or cause distress to anyone.
‘That is why we regularly host evening events specifically for adults in order to showcase specific attractions within the centre and these are very well attended.
Anothony’s mother Elaine Lewis said her son, ‘just wants to go and play with the Lego and look at the models’
‘We hope very much that all adult guests will join us at one of these sessions and we are sure that he would very much enjoy it.
‘However if an evening event is difficult for him to attend then if his family make contact we would be happy to agree a time when one of our managers is available to show him around.’