The Surrey town of Staines is looking to change its name in an attempt to distance itself from Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical character and “resident” Ali G.

The town, regularly mocked by the tracksuit-sporting character and proud member of the fictional “Staines Massiv” is hoping that a name change to “Staines-upon-Thames” will boost investment in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Alex Tribick, chair of the Spelthorne Business Forum, which proposed the name-change said: “There are 15 miles of the river running through the borough and it is a world-iconic image but we found that it is woefully underused in our borough.”

“Not one person we spoke to said they wanted it to remain as Staines,” he added.

But Anne Damerell, secretary of the Staines Town Society, rubbished the plans saying:

“If Ali G gets to hear about this, he’ll have a real laugh at us doing something so silly. Does Staines have such a bad reputation? We’re just a normal place with a normal name, let’s leave it at that.”


– Alison Grinter