We used to grin and bear the name our parents burdened us with, whether that was Carrie Oakey or Jean Poole. It has been possible to change names by deed poll since 1760 but a decade ago, only 15,000 people did so each year. Now, spurred on by separations, pub pranks and thanks to an innovative online deed poll service, more people than ever are doing so.

As any school-age Hieronymus, Orlando or Guinevere will attest, having an unusual name is not the surest route to popularity in the playground. For example, imagine yourself a young boy growing up in the tough American mid-west and your parents saw fit to name you Marion Morrison. You might be forgiven for wishing that your parents had perhaps chosen a name a little less feminine. However, in 1930 Marion took matters into his own hands, changed his name and became the epitome of ruggedness and masculinity that made him an enduring icon. He became better known as John Wayne.

In the UK it is possible to change your name at anytime and as often as you wish, so long as the desired name isn’t intended to deceive or can be construed to be offensive or blasphemous. You must use a Deed Poll to officially change your legal name you execute it by signing it in the presence of a witness. The witness can be anyone, but not a member of your own family, and once you have executed the Deed, your name is officially changed.

Jamie Jackson, CEO of The Legal Deed Service says: “There are many reasons why people decide to change a name by Deed Poll, for example, a couple may decide to have a double-barrelled surname when they marry, people of foreign extraction living in the UK may wish to anglicise their name to make it easier for others to pronounce, or simply for novelty, some people choose to change their name to a ‘fun name’ such as James Bond. However, our clients can rest assured safe in the knowledge that all relevant employees deployed within our organisation have undergone extensive training and thus fully understand the law pertaining to a change of name.”

So for anyone who fancies a change of identity, they can simply log on to thelegaldeedservice.org.uk , and with a couple of clicks they can set the wheels in motion, and if after a few months, the name loses its appeal, change it again.