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Pudsey Bear refused UK passport
Charity fundraiser confined to Blighty
A woman who changed her name to Pudsey Bear in order to raise cash for the Beeb's Children in Need has been refused a passport on the grounds of her "frivolous" new moniker.
Receptionist Eileen De Bont, 37, raised £4,000 for needy kiddies with her Deed Poll act of charity, and is now known as "Mrs P Bear" to her bank, "Ms Pudsey Bear" on council tax statements, and "Mrs Pudsey Bear" at the DVLA and Inland Revenue.
However, the Telegraph reports that mother-of-two Mrs Bear came unstuck when she applied for a new passport. The Identity & Passport Service wrote: "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.
"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'."
Mrs Bear is exasperated: "I do not know what to do. It is utterly ridiculous. My old passport expired in October. 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.
"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."
An IPS spokesman explained it was looking into whether the new title was "legitimate, consistent, permanent and genuine", adding: "If the name change is temporary, for the purpose of publicity, for commercial reasons or for frivolous reasons then the Identity and Passport Service may consider refusing an application."
Mike Barratt, of the UK Deed Poll Service, roundly condemned the IPS stance, and insisted: "It is unnecessary interference from a public authority in Mrs Bear's private life that is in breach of her human rights."
In case you're wondering, Bear's two daughters, 10 and 13, don't seem to mind mum's change of identity. She said: "I love my new name. It has become part of my life. It is who I am. My girls both call me 'Mummy Bear'."