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Yep, that's me, all right

"We are always amazed," Marc Phillips said, "at the originality of people who devise new fundraising methods – particularly when [they] have long-term personal implications." The frame of reference for Phillips, who heads the BBC's Children in Need project for Wales, was dental office receptionist Eileen de Bont. Or, as she'll be known for all of 2009, Pudsey Bear. Yes, you read that correctly. Winding down what has been "a very tough year" and with Christmas looming and two young children at home, Eileen thought it would be "a great idea" to auction on eBay the right to impose a legal name-change on herself. She proposed to split the winning bid between the Children in Need charity and buying presents to put under the tree for her own kids. For starters, she offered 50 possibilities – among them Scunthorpe Travelodge, a hotel; and Marge Simpson, the blue-haired wife of TV cartoon character Homer Simpson – but said, "It's not exclusive to these." The winning bidder: UK Deed Poll Service, which helps Britons living abroad to change their names. Deed Poll offered £5,000 (US $7,522) and chose the name of Children in Need's mascot. Pudsey Bear – the mascot, that is – at least should be a comfortable fit. It's a cuddly overstuffed yellow teddy bear with a perpetual smile and a polka-dot patch over one eye. Eileen will need to arrange for a new driver's license and a new bank passbook, and says her children and her parents all "think I'm really wacky." But she insists, "Yes, if anyone asks me, I will answer with the name."


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