Man who changed surname to Fu-Kennard denied UK passport

'Life’s too short to be boring'

Joanna Whitehead
Tuesday 06 August 2019 15:26 BST
Man who changed surname to Fu-Kennard denied UK passport

A man who changed his name by deed poll to Kenny Fu-Kennard has been denied a passport because his name is considered too rude.

The former soldier from Cornwall, applied for a new passport earlier this year, but had his application rejected on the basis that his name “may cause offence”.

The 33-year-old challenged the decision on three occasions, but the Home Office has remained steadfast.

Fu-Kennard decided to change his name to “something with a bit of ‘fun’ about it” after eight years of military service, according to a Daily Mail report.

He had previously changed his name to Coco Kenny at the age of 16, but was directed to change it back upon joining the army three years later after being told it was “immature”.

He then opted to “play it a bit safe”, settling for Fu-Kennard because “not everyone gets the joke”.

“Life’s too short to be boring,” he said.

In a Home Office letter, Fu-Kennard was instructed to change his name to something more acceptable or use his previous name.

“Your application is deemed to contain a name, which may cause offence to individuals and the wider public,” it read.

“The passport is not an appropriate vehicle to carry names which may be considered as distasteful or vulgar.”

Official passport guidelines state that “names that may outrage or offence” or that could be construed as “unacceptable” would be inappropriate.

This includes “the use of swear words, sexually explicit references, inappropriate religious connotation, anything which is vulgar, offensive, or libellous to an individual, makes use of a name of a person living or dead which may cause public concern.

“This applies to phonetic, as well as actual use of words comprising of part or the entire name,” it states.

Fu-Kennard has a sense of humour 

Fu-Kennard refuses to change his name, claiming that his freedom is being restricted.

“On the one hand, I find the whole thing funny – as do all of my friends,” he said.

“But I’m also finding it hard to believe the name could be construed as anything but funny and slightly ridiculous. It’s just a joke.

“’Fu-Kennard’ is not offensive, and I object to them denying my chosen name.”

The 33-year-old now faces a future of UK holidays, despite his love for travel.

“Without a passport, I can’t go on holiday abroad. I live in a seaside town, but have always enjoyed travelling.

“My last holiday to Sri Lanka was about three years ago. But there are so many countries I’d still like to visit, such as Cambodia,” he said.

“I don’t know what else I can do to escalate the situation with HM Passport Office, because no one has advised me how else I can challenge the verdict.

“I only have one red line, though – I’m keeping my surname.”

While the Home Office does not routinely comment on individual cases, a spokesperson told The Independent: “Applications for a change of name on a British passport will be refused, in line with our clear policy, where a name may cause public offence.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in