April 29, 2009

Pudsey Bear denied passport

A British woman who changed her name to Pudsey Bear to raise $5,900 for a children's charity said authorities refused to issue her a passport in her new name.

Bear, 37, born Eileen De Bont, legally changed her name to that of the BBC Children in Need mascot to raise money for the organization and updated documents including her driver's license, tax forms and credit cards to her new moniker, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The British Identity and Passport service told Bear in a letter that it would not issue her a passport in the new name because it was a frivolous change.

It is deemed to be a frivolous change of name, which would bring IPS into disrepute. It could also pose problems for you at border control in some countries, the letter read. IPS is not questioning the validity of the deed poll, however, it is not prepared to issue a passport in a frivolous name which could compromise our mission statement 'safeguarding your identity.'

Bear called the situation utterly ridiculous.

They say they will only issue me with one in the name of Eileen De Bont, but that is not my name. I do not have any documents with that name on now, she said. If I get a passport in the name of Eileen I am going to have trouble checking into hotels, hiring cars and even changing money.