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Staines is west London, is undergoing a rebranding to shake off its association with Ali G, the rap-loving alter ego of actor Sacha Baron Cohen.

Spelthorne Borough Council voted this week to approve the name change to Staines-on-Thames, capitalising on Staines’ location on the famous river, much the same that Richmond and Kingston have done.

A desire to rid the town of its links with the comedy creation, Ali G, who was the self-proclaimed head of Da West Staines

Massive, was the reason Alex Tribeck, the chairman of Spelthorne Business Forum, first suggested the name change.

“There's no doubt Ali G put Staines on the map. But for all the wrong reasons. He put the stain in Staines,” he said.

But some locals, who were consulted on the rebrand, think the name change is making the situation worse.

Steve Parsons, the secretary at Staines Town Football Club, said: “Changing the name exposes the town to ridicule, it turns its back on 1,500 years of history and is not necessary.

“How about if 500 people wanted to change the name back next year? You could do it, or we could go one better and change it every year.

“That is the reason why people see this as ridiculous, places that change their names are places like Stalingrad.”

The Russian city of Volgograd was renamed Stalingrad in 1925 after the Russian dictator Josef Stalin, but was changed back in 1961.

Neither Ali G, nor Da West Staines Massive, could be contacted for comment.


Ali G’s hometown, Staines, to be named Staines-on-Thames
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