ABINGDON was re-branding itself within hours yesterday of a decision to change its name.

Vale of White Horse District Council approved the bid from the now Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council on Wednesday night, in the hope the change will attract more tourists to the town.

Yesterday the town council was already adjusting mentions of the town and itself to the new name on its website and is planning to order new stationery.

Town council leader Sandy Lovatt said: “It will make a significant impact to the footfall of the town.

‘Thames’ is an iconic word.

“So is ‘Oxford’ and ‘history’ – they all attract tourists.”

He said the move, along with the offer of two hours free parking and a revamp of the shopping centre, would make Abingdon more appealing.

Heather Brown, manager of town promotion group the Choose Abingdon partnership, said: “‘Thames’ is one of the best-known English brand names with worldwide recognition.

“It’s no bad thing if Abingdon comes up on Internet searches when someone types in ‘Thames’. We have one of the best town riverbanks on the whole river and should be proud to emphasise it.

Town clerk Nigel Warner said there were no immediate plans to update the town’s entry road signs, but they were due for replacement.

He added: “Things will be changed when they need to be changed.”

The ‘on-Thames’ suffix was dropped in 1974 when the town ‘moved’ from Berkshire into Oxfordshire.

But Alastair Fear, 54, who runs the Abingdon Blog, said: “For most people, Abingdon will remain unchanged.

“It is not the sort of thing that will roll of the tongue.”

Jane Warne, spokesman for Abingdon School, said it had no plans to change its name.