Calls to change the 'offensive' name of a pub have been faced with a backlash.

Nearly 750 people signed a petition on calling for The Midget pub in Abingdon to be renamed, saying the word was offensive and outdated.

But calls to change it have been faced with a rebuttal with more than 900 locals signing a rival petition demanding the name stay put.

Organiser Sammie Rhodes said: "This pub, named after a car, is part of the history of our town. It's more than just a name; it represents our shared heritage and community spirit."

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She said the pub, which opened in 1974, "has been a cornerstone of our local community for decades".

Owner Greene King said its name refers to a the MG Midget which was manufactured in the town from 1929 to 1979.

Ms Rhodes said "its name pays homage to an iconic car model" and it is "an important piece of our local history that should not be erased or forgotten.

"Changing the name would not only disregard this historical significance but also alienate long-time patrons who hold dear memories associated with this establishment.

"Let us respect tradition while embracing progress without compromising either one.

"Stand with us in protecting the legacy embedded within the walls and nameplate of our beloved local public house."

The original petition called on the owners Greene King to "recognise the offence of the term and its implications".

It stated: "Midget is a derogatory word used towards people with dwarfism.

"People with dwarfism, including children with the condition experience name calling on a daily basis."

Organiser Erin Pritchard challenged Greene King's assertion that the pub is named after the MG Midget car "as the name omits 'MG'".

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"Furthermore, the origins of the name of that car come from freak show terminology, which is disablist hate speech and flouts the Equality Act," she said.

Many people commented on Ms Pritchard's petition to offer their support including several people with dwarfism. 

One said: "Why would you want to be called the M-word? I have all my life and it sucks!"

Car enthusiasts from the town's MG Car Club have also defended the name, saying it celebrates the town's motoring history.

A Greene King spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the negative connotations connected with the word and would not want to offend or alienate our community in any way.

"The pub is named after the MG Midget Car, which is from the iconic motoring brand in Abingdon, MG, and the car is shown on the pub’s signage.”