All in a name: 25 of your changes

Janet Deci Bell Loud and clear: Janet changed her middle name for charity

The Magazine's recent piece on changing your name by deed poll prompted lots of readers to email examples. Here are 25 of the best.

People change their given names for many reasons, as discussed in the article, and a wide selection is represented here.

1. I changed my middle name last week from Eleanor to Deci after collecting sponsorship to do so. I raised about £400 for the mental health groups I work for. It's only being changed for a year so I don't have to worry about getting a new passport though. A lot of people are calling me Deci or Decibel at the moment. Janet Deci Bell, London

2. My wife and I changed our names when we married. It seemed unfair that I kept my surname and she had to give up hers. A new name also gave us the chance to create something that belonged just to us. By combining our surnames, Walker and Bland, we came up with Blake. Twenty-seven years later we're a pair of very happy Blakes. David Blake, London

3. I took a bet with my work colleague to change. He bet me £1,000 I would not do it but I did. At the time I was 23 stone so the name - John ateall-thepies - was appropriate. This was over two years ago and I am now 15 stone after a long diet. I have since changed my name back to John Spring as I got asked so many times as to why I had this name due to my new figure! John Spring, Sutton

4. Changed name to RU Seerius to stand for parliamentary election. Monster Raving Loony Party of course. Jonathan Brewer, Derbyshire

Lee Danger Cooper Danger is Lee Cooper's middle name

5. I had my middle name changed to "Danger". Names aren't that important and I think everyone should choose their own name when they come of age. There should be less James Smiths and more Zig-Zag Banana-Hammocks in this world. My mum was fairly mystified when she found out but she didn't give me a middle name to start with so it's sort of her fault anyway, leaving me a blank canvas to paint on. My friend paid for the name change as a birthday present. I'm thinking of changing my first name to "Incredible". Lee Danger Cooper, London

6. I was christened Julian Ralph Willetts Cook but found myself in a school year with four other boys named Julian. At the time my parents were living in Africa so I travelled a bit more than other kids at school, and with the surname Cook I ended up with the nickname Thomas Cook (the travel agent). This quickly got shortened to Tom, which is what I got used to being called. I filed a statutory declaration to simply add Tom on to the front of my existing names. My sister and my niece and nephew as well as my aunt and cousins still call me Julian, and my wife has got used to switching to Julian when we are with them. For everyone else, I'm Tom. Tom Cook, Cowbridge

7. I changed my name to Joseph Stuart James Walcroft-Woodward from my birth name Stuart James Woodward. I changed my family name after genealogical research proved that my direct male line ancestors had a different name. I also first-named myself after a hero from my ancestry, Joseph, who fought and survived throughout the Peninsular War (1807-1814) as well as military service before and after that. I have retained my birth names because I like them and also in honour of my parents. In all normal circumstances I am still known as Stuart Woodward and called Stuart. The rest is really just for my own deeply-held feelings of connection to my forbears. Joseph Stuart James Walcroft-Woodward, Colchester

Chapelle family The Chapelle family could have been the Green family

8. I changed my name last year. I was registered at birth as Anne Carolyn but was called Carolyn from a young child. After a serious illness which involved undergoing lots of hospital procedures, I was sick to death of being called Anne so I applied to have the Anne removed from my name and now I am just Carolyn Mitchell - and very happy with it! Carolyn Mitchell, Harrogate

9. I changed my surname by deed poll to take my wife's name when we got married. I believe the practice of the woman taking the man's name is somewhat anachronistic. It also helped that my surname was Green so Chapelle is much nicer! Similarly my wife is one of two sisters so there is a concern the Chapelle name would die out. Of course, the law of Sod, we have now gone on to have two daughters so let's hope they find a man prepared to do the same. Dan Chapelle, Ipswich

10. I had to pay to change my name to have the same married surname as my partner and now my son. I was not allowed to double up my surname with my partner's as she did with mine when we married. Lee Hamilton-Evans, Brighton

11. I was Caroline for the first 17 years of my life, but I've been Charlie for the last 24 years. My mother chose a very popular first name for me - I had nine school friends in my year with the same name, or a variation thereof - so, to be different, I changed it in my last year of school, much to the amusement of my fellow pupils. I chose Charlie in honour of my grandfather, of whom I was very fond. I changed my name legally in 1994 in order to have my new name on my passport. Charlie, Edinburgh

Alison Leith Alison Leith's brother got a middle name, she did not

12. I was born Claire Lily Botley and was teased and tormented throughout school. My mum remarried when I was nine and I became legally known as Claire Lily Douglas. My mother divorced her husband and I decided that I wanted my doctorate title to be associated with my maternal family. I recently got married but have decided not to change my surname for the fourth time as I must remain Scott for work purposes. My uncle's speech at my wedding made reference to me having had more surnames than he had had cars. Dr Claire L Scott, Glenrothes

13. I didn't exactly change my name, just added to it. Having lived without a middle name since birth and feeling that I'd missed out, I thought long and hard about it and finally took my father's middle name and changed it by deed poll. My full name is now Alison Ogston Leith. I have two grown up children who were both given middle names - I wouldn't have had it any other way. Alison Leith, Aberdeenshire

14. I changed my name when I was 18 (now 46) but only by reversing my two forenames and then adding a third forename which was a family name. I was Christopher Michael Young, I am now Michael Christopher George Young. My parents were unhappy about the change and my mother still insists on using my former first name! Michael Young, Brighton

Charlie Hawkes Regretting Charlie

15. When I was in the RAF I was offered a Branch Commission (a commission in one's own trade) but it was suggested to me that I change my name as officers and gentleman did not have foreign names. Can you imagine them suggesting that these days? I did change it, but when I was invalided out I changed it back again. I'm not ashamed of being half Greek - quite the opposite. Len Loullis, Stamford

16.When I was a teenager I changed my name when my mum remarried but when she went to the solicitors, she called me and asked if I wanted to change my first name from Charlotte to Charlie as well as changing my surname, to which I said yes. Now as an adult I hate my name being Charlie, with all the "ooh I was expecting to see a man" and "that's a man's name isn't it?" comments. It is my biggest regret. I will shortly be changing my name back to Charlotte! Charlie Hawkes, Wolverhampton

17. I changed my name a couple of years ago now. I can't say it was because I wanted to be a celebrity or anything like that, I just didn't like the former name (John). Do I regret changing my name? No I don't and I can honestly say I feel happier about myself. Admittedly I changed my full name and I'm not sure if I'm entirely happy with the surname but I created it on the basis of ideals and methods that I want to follow. Kai Childheart, UK

18. I changed my surname by statutory declaration as I wanted to leave the surname of my ex-husband, but my new man did not want to get married. I also wanted my new baby to have the same surname as both her parents (she is now 28), and outside the family most people assumed we were married. Anne Course, Surrey

Lesley Christie Lesley Christie was inspired by the author Agatha Christie

19. I changed my name after my husband left me and we got a divorce in 2010. My maiden name was Ebbage and I think the reason that I did not revert back to it was because I was going through a lot of self-discovery at the time of my divorce. I have always been a fan of Agatha Christie and at the time I was reading her autobiography and her account of the separation from her first husband. After talking it over with my parents I decided to change my name to Lesley Anne Christie and the day I was able to change my name at the bank, at work and the council was the day I finally felt freedom from my upsetting marriage. I love telling people my name and every time I see it and say it, I am reminded of a very wonderful woman and the strength I found inside myself to overcome a very painful time in my life. Lesley Christie, Cheltenham

20. My (then) seven-year-old daughter and I both chose the name O'Hara as our last name based on my Irish ancestry. We rejected both my father's name and her father's name and chose instead our own family name. Why should we be burdened by the name(s) of people we feel no connection with or loyalty to? We chose to abandon the patriarchal naming system and move forward with our own, new, chosen family name. Kate O'Hara, Hong Kong

Alixandrea Corvyn Singer Alixandrea used her social networking name

21. My current name is Alixandrea Corvyn and was chosen by combining my original first name (Alix) with the name of a character I created in a short story I wrote. The Corvyn comes from the Latin "Corvus" for crow and the surname "Corbin" of one of my favourite artists. I was Alixandrea online for a good year or two before I officially changed my name. I also considered it as my "stage name" before deciding to take it for all aspects of my life. Alixandrea Corvyn, Cambridge

22. My previous surname was Timms. My wife's maiden name was Fowler and she had a son by a previous relationship, also with the surname Fowler. Between meeting and marrying we had two further children and we had to decide what we would do for a family name. After discussions with my wife's first son, who didn't want to loose the Fowler name, we decided to hyphenate our surnames and this is the surname given to our two newborn children at birth. For some years we were a family unit with one surname until my wife's first born son elected to change his name to an obscure made up Italian-style name in an effort to attract girls. This didn't work and he suffered a fair deal of abuse from his peers over it so he promptly changed it back. David Fowler-Timms, Northampton

23. When my parents divorced my mum wanted to change her surname but still wanted to have the same name as my brother and I. Since her family are Spanish it seemed like a logical choice to go double barrelled but sometimes I regret it as the UK doesn't seem to be prepared for it. I often have problems filling out my full name and when I do companies drop one of my surnames. Sometimes I wish I had a nice normal name rather than Chani Emily Francisca Lawrence Martinez - it is a bit of a mouthful! Chani Lawrence Martinez, Bristol

Richard Ely Actor Richard Ely felt dissociated from his former name

24. I changed my surname last September and it was the best decision of my life. I haven't seen my father for over 10 years. While this used to upset me as a child, I now felt it was time to move on. I felt that my old name associated me with him, as it was his surname as well. I took my nana's maiden name and I feel liberated from my past. My nana was honoured that I took her name and I love that people associate me with her because of my name change. Holly Fernyhough, Keele

25. I am an actor and the opportunity to change my name came when I applied to join Equity. There was already someone with my name in the union.I changed my name in 1998, at the age of 30. It took me a very long time to realise that I felt dissociated from it, that my name didn't - and never had - described "me". When I changed it to something I felt more comfortable with, I immediately noticed how much happier I felt to give my name when asked for it. Not that my birth name was a stupid one - it just wasn't me. Richard Ely, Alfreton

And someone who was tempted but did not:

26.When I was younger and fed up with all of the jokes I swore I would change my name as soon as I was old enough. Now I wouldn't dream of changing it. It is a part of who I am and it is memorable, which isn't a bad thing at all so long as you are remembered for the right reasons! Bill Badger, Romford


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  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    My parents unwittingly called me Jennie Taylor... when the boys at the local grammar school worked it out when I was about 13, my mum almost died.

    Thankfully I married young, and took my husbands name, so that I didn't have to go into the professional world as Dr Jenni Taylor! I guess I would have made a suitable gynacologist though :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    There are 23,000 people in the US with my first and last name, and some of them have collection agencies after them. I've seriously considered making a change to something unique.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    A wonderfully eccentric chap I knew tried to change his name to Zacharias Zzzzzzzzzzzz (that's 12 BTW). The authorities refused to allow it. Needless to say his aim was to be the last person alphabetically. On the same theme he once travelled to Hull just to visit Mrs Aab who was delighted when he arrived unannounced.
    He was from the Isle of Man!

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    There is a female German skier called Fanny Chmelar (pronounced smeller).
    Now that name I would certainly

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    I guess if a name is such a big deal these people have other issues that should be dealt with first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    We knew a family called Rose, who named their son Winter. He must have liked it, because he called his son Tudor.
    Perhaps the loveliest name I came across when I was teaching was Venetia Constantine. But one of my sister's pupils was called Scarlett Strutt - sounds like the principal girder in a high-rise block!

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    I worked with a guy called Richard Head, no wonder he was a bit on the aggresive side when you asked for his name!

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    My father wanted my second name to be in honour of his mother Dorothy, so naturally, my mother wanted her mother to be honoured too. All I can say is that I am so glad she was Alice Bertha and not the other way about!

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I like the BBC but you have to laugh at todays topics of HYS. What about the death of gaddafi, the dale evictions or Cameron's disgusting attitude towards the vote on a referudum on the EU (which was closed early). What do we get? This subject!

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    It took quite a row in my family to stop my grandfather Monday naming one of my aunts Easter. Can you imagine going through school as Easter Monday? The all time best though is when Bell Joins married Sam Bell making her Bell Bell, now known as Ding-a-ling in 3 counties of Alabama. Then there was Sherry Allison McCall a male know by his initials as SAM. I have a theory he was unwanted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I genuinely worked with a chap whose name was Ivor Wigley and that was his birth name. Everybody here sounds they had it easy compared to him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    The 3 best names I have met are:
    1) Albert Ross
    2) Doris Karloff
    3) John Lennon
    John Lennon had the worst of it because nobody believed him. He used to say to people “He wasn’t famous when I was born”

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    As you noticed, or not, I mentioned that as I matured, and the people around me also matured, I got used to it, and am fairly happy with "twiggy" as it's harmless. Its in the past, previous names that had been said too me when i was younger and more immature.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.


    "Frankly over the last 10 years or so, I have put up with abuse about my surname (Branch) with multiple nicknames being created. Some of them very offensive."


    And yet you adopt the username for BBC forums of "twiggy"?

    One might then [wrongly, it appears] think that you thought your name a source of humour...

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    As my wife has a unique surname when we got married we double barrelled, changing a rare name into something unique world wide! Her name has some history behind that was worth keeping the name alive.

    I am confused by some people saying that when they got married they were told they couldn't change it, or they had to use deed poll. We changed it with no one batting an eyelid!

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Frankly over the last 10 years or so, I have put up with abuse about my surname (Branch) with multiple nicknames being created. Some of them very offensive. As I have got older, I am used to it now, hence my username. But i would still be tempted to take my fiancee's name (if i get there) just to prevent it happening to my children. I agree it is my name. But at times I have hated it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    It's far more fun to see people choosng silly names for themselves. Where are you, Pearl Button, Rose Bush, April Showers, Helen Highwater, Donna Kebab, Theresa Green, Justin Credible, Aaron C Reskew, Gordon Bennett?

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I was born Ana Jessica Brown, nicknamed Annie. Dad left and I became Ana Jessica Solangon. Moved to the UK and became Sarah Anne Solangon. In school I took on my stepdad's name to make admin easier making Sarah Anne Byrne. As I was always called Annie, it became Annie Byrne. At uni I had to use my official name Sarah Anne Solangon, although I'm known as Annie Solangon to most. What a hassle!

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I added my mother's maiden name to my surname, as did my brothers, for my grandpa's eightieth birthday. He was the last male descendent with his family name, and we thought it would be a nice way to ensure his name lived on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    My wife was going to take my name after we got married but she decided that Thomas wouldn't suit her.


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