'˜Buzz Lightyear' wins driving licence fight over name change

A man who changed his name to Buzz Lightyear for charity has won a year-long battle with the DVLA to have a driving licence in his new name.

Sam Stephens who changed his name to Buzz Lightyear Picture: SWNS

Mr Lightyear, formerly Sam Stephens, changed his name by deed poll to raise money for CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people.

Letters sent from the DVLA claimed his name could bring the company into disrepute as Buzz Lightyear was a “fictional character”, he said.

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The 27-year-old, from Bideford, Devon, appealed over the decision and was issued with a new licence in the name of Buzz Lightyear two weeks ago.

The driving licence of Sam Stephens who changed his name to Buzz Lightyear Picture: SWNS

“I changed my name this time last year in April and at first the DVLA refused a driving licence,” said Mr Lightyear, an assistant manager for an electrical wholesaler.

“It has taken a year but two weeks ago they issued a driving licence in my name.

“I have been driving with my other licence but it has been hard doing official things because I haven’t had photo ID.

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The driving licence of Sam Stephens who changed his name to Buzz Lightyear Picture: SWNS

“My bank and banking details are saved as Buzz so that was causing problems.”

Mr Lightyear claimed he checked with the DVLA before deciding to change his name and was assured it would be accepted.

“I was disappointed when I submitted my application and they said I couldn’t have a license in that name,” he said.

“I had two appeal letters turned down and no-one was listening to me so it feels like a victory for me for taking on this big company.

“The official reason given by the DVLA was that because it was a fictional character it would bring the company into disrepute if I went abroad.

“I said it wasn’t their decision, it is my name by deed poll - it is not up to them to accept or reject that.

“There are plenty of Harry Potters in the world so they had no right to tell me I couldn’t have a driving licence in this name.”

Mr Lightyear has raised thousands of pounds for CLIC Sargent by having a Buzz Lightyear tattoo on his leg and running the Brighton marathon in April 2015.

He signed the deed poll to change his name on the marathon finishing line, having reached his fundraising target of £2,000.

“It is all for the charity,” he said.

“Cancer is a horrible thing for anyone but especially for young children with their whole lives ahead of them.”

He chose the theme of Buzz Lightyear to keep people interested in his fundraising and as Toy Story is a children’s film.

“It was my favourite film as a child, I watched it every day,” Mr Lightyear said.

“I didn’t want people donating money and then forgetting about it - I wanted to raise as much awareness as possible for CLIC Sargent.”

A spokesman for the DVLA said: “We recognise people may choose to change their name for many reasons.

“The driving licence is an important official document which is used both here and abroad.

“That is why we look for a range of evidence to support the application before we update our records.”