Linda Colling: Miss Jelly St Tots?

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THE craze for giving babies the craziest of names is cruelty to children.

Potty parents who want their tots to stand out from the crowd, like the celebs, are inflicting the weirdest names they can dream up in their desire to be different.

Poor kids. What stick they will get at school and how many will want to change their name when they are old enough?

Perhaps Drew Peacock, who was so unwittingly named by his parents and hit the headlines seven years ago this month. “I can’t believe we’ve named our son “Droopy C...k” said dad Russell, who only realised their howler when he put in an internet search for famous names and was asked “Do you mean Droopy C...k?”

“I started repeating Drew Peacock over and over again. Then I thought what have we done? I went numb and couldn’t speak for two minutes. Then I couldn’t stop laughing.”

Poor fella. He had to live with people at work saying, “Hey, look there’s Droopy’s dad.” Even Drew’s mother, Shetai Patel, despite being a registrar’s assistant had failed to spot their blunder, and both though concerned his name would cause him problems in later life, decided against changing it because it was on his birth certificate and other documents.

Well, Drew may think differently.

Once it was only those saddled with silly or embarrasing names that resorted to changing them by deed poll. I know of a family of Freaks who understandably changed theirs.

Then there was a certain someone who refused to become Mrs Cowe and instead opted for Cowie. As for identical twins, Antique and Unique – I jest not – it’s got to be on the cards that they change theirs.

And just like Drew Peacock’s parents there are others who fail to realise just what’s in a name. One friend was at Uni with a Ewan Kerr. Get it? And then marriage can and did make a Sunderland woman into Annette Kirton and another Alison Allison.

And who would have thought Jeremy Chad would end up as vicar of St Chad’s Church, East Herrington? There may well be a Chelsea Mercedes out there. Certainly some of our Bonny Babies have the daftest of names. Daring to be different, parents obviously give no thought to their bundle of joy one day growing up and being a laughing stock, because unlike celeb’s offspring, they have to live in the real world.

And now would you believe more people are actually wanting a silly name and willing to pay £33 to get one? How nutty are these? Dr Pasty-Smasher Omelette, Miss Jelly St Tots, Willy Wonka? And it gets madder. Who in their right mind would want to be known as any one of these non-role models?

Some 30 people have begun a new life as Michael Jackson, 15 as Wayne Rooney and five as Amy Winehouse. More than 60,000 people will have changed their name in 2011 by the end of the year compared with only 197 in 2000 after which the procedure was simplified.

While some reckon the more bizarre the better, more than 300 have become plain John Smith, perhaps hoping to disappear into oblivion and start a new life where their creditors can’t catch up with them.

Another daft fad is for more married couples to mesh their surnames, like Geordies Michael Pugh, 29, a sparky and his fiancee Rebecca Griffin, 28, a customer services executive. They changed theirs by deed poll to come up with this cracker, Mr and Mrs Puffin. “People were shocked but we just thought it would be a nice idea,” said Mrs Puffin from Newcastle, who added: “We won’t change it back. Our children will be Puffins too.” That fits the bill.