Condom poster dropped after death of boss

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The Independent Online
A poster campaign by the British Safety Council using a wedding photo of the Prince and Princess of Wales to promote safe sex has been withdrawn following the death of the Council's flamboyant director-general.

The BSC's board of governors said today they were not prepared to support the controversial poster and apologised to the Royal family for any distress caused.

The campaign featured a picture of the Royal couple kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, with the caption: "Appearances can be deceptive. Use a Johnny Condom." The poster was intended to promote National Condom Week and was the brainchild of the BSC's founder and director-general, James Tye.

BSC chairman Dr Douglas Latto said: "Sadly James Tye passed away on Sunday. This was his last campaign. In his absence the board of governors feels it really cannot support such a controversial poster.

Palace officials complained to the Advertising Standards Council about the poster, which first appeared last week, but just days ago the BSC was refusing to apologise. A spokeswoman for the BSC said today: "It was very much James's baby. We only had five complaints from members of the public, but hundreds of people rang in from all over the country saying how much they enjoyed it."

It is not the first time the BSC's founder and the Royal family have clashed. Mr Tye had criticised the Queen for not wearing a hard-hat while hunting. The Princess Royal also came under attack for driving her son, Peter, home from hospital without wearing a seatbelt, and the Prince of Wales was reprimanded for allowing Prince Harry to hold the steering wheel of his Land Rover while driving on the Sandringham Estate.

In 1990 the BSC breached Royal protocol by using, without permission, posters of the Prince of Wales with his arm in a sling to promote safety in the workplace. In 1993 the Council branded Buckingham Palace a "death trap" for tourists, because of serious fire hazards.

Mr Tye, a former advertising executive, set up the BSC, an independent charity, in 1957, and became its head in 1968. He ran it as an internationally- recognised organisation, from hishome in Chiswick, west London.

A spokesman for the BSC said: "He was a wonderful character, a great eccentric whom we'll miss terribly." Mr Tye died aged 74. He leaves his wife Rosalie, and a son and daughter.