NHS worker Dave Lennox spent a year being officially known as: 'Her Majesty the Queen'.
And as a result, AICR has reaped the benefits, both financially and in valuable publicity.
The 30-year-old who lives and works in Aberdeen, had never done anything for charity before but, in the months since he adopted his Royal title, he's certainly got used to being in the media spotlight.
“This all started as just an idea while chatting to someone at work,” he explained. “I decided to look into the possibilities of legally changing my name for a full year and found out that it was quite easy to do, so I went ahead with it.”
He decided to change his identity by deed poll to raise money for AICR, the leading charity funding cancer research anywhere in the world and invited the public to choose what he'd be called for the next 12 months.
With the help of friends, he picked out five possible alternatives to the name he was born with. Initially, the most popular was definitely the longest: Spartacus Kronos Iain Loki Gaius Achilles Newton Nicodemus Octavious Nasser derives from Dave's favourite Greek and Roman names with a few Norse and Native American names he discovered. Other options were: 'Sixty Watt', 'Dan Gerous,' 'Batt Mann' – and 'Her Majesty the Queen'.
As of midnight on March 31, 2010, the name that got the most donations was: 'Her Majesty the Queen' and on April 1, last year, Dave legally changed his name!
“Spartacus would have been my first preference, but 'Her Majesty' was the popular choice of voters online,” said Dave. “It was suggested by TV personality Christine Hamilton who knows the chap who owns The Legal Deed Poll Service. I randomly got a phone call from her after I'd spoken to him.
In all Dave's idea raised almost £800 for AICR. The publicity he generated was also hugely appreciated, said Geraldine Long, AICR's Donor Development Manager. “Dave's name-change has been one of the most unusual and exciting fund-raising efforts I've seen and we've had some great ones over the years,” she said.
“We are all extremely grateful to him and can't wait to find out what he's going to get up to next!”
Said Dave: “Almost everyone has been affected by cancer and I'm no different. AICR is not restricted to a single country. They will seek out the best research, wherever it is in the world and you can be sure that your donations will be put to good use.”
While he's not had any trouble from Buckingham Palace, nor, for that matter, any misdirected mail from Balmoral, spending Christmas as Her Majesty the Queen was not without confusion.
“I have to carry the deed poll around with me all the time, to convince people my name really is: 'Her Majesty the Queen' and at Christmas, I had to pick up a present addressed to me as: 'Dave Lennox' at the Royal Mail parcel depot in Aberdeen. I realised when I got there that all my ID said: 'Her Majesty' on it. That caused quite a bit of hilarity, but I got the parcel in the end!”
Perhaps surprisingly, given that his picture has appeared in newspapers up and down the country, Dave says his year as the Queen has been relatively quiet. “Every now and then I meet some one who's heard me on the radio and we have a bit of a laugh about it. It's been a good story, but in all there's not been a huge amount of excitement over it,” he said.
“I heard nothing whatsoever from the Palace about it. I reckon I'd have heard if they were that worried. I am sure they will be aware of it.
“It was a more or less painless way to raise money. I am tempted to hang on to the name for another while. I said I'd keep it for a year and that is up on April 1 this year, but I might not change my name back to Dave Lennox. I might stay as: 'Her Majesty' or I might change it to something else. I like doing interesting things and if I can do that for a good cause, all the better.”