DENNIS and Pauline Allen got more than they bargained for this Christmas.

The couple, of Laxton Road, Taunton, woke up to the unusual gift of becoming a Lord and Lady after the titles were bought for them by daughter Denise.

The gift was to mark the work the pair have done for the community, and say it means they can legally refer to themselves as a Lord or Lady.

Dennis, 80, said: “My daughter said we haven’t got an OBE and we haven’t got a CBE, so it was about time we had something for the work we do.

“She said because we’ve done stuff for so many people over the years it was time we were recognised.”

Dennis, a retired policeman and security officer, moved to Taunton from Essex early in the millennium.

He became involved in groups on the Lane Estate, such as LATRA, and was chairman of the Taunton Deane Council tenants forums, organising free trips for children and the elderly.

He said: “The title’s a bit of a laugh and good fun. When my friends call up I say ‘Hello, it’s Lord Allen here and they’re like ‘who the hell is that?’

“It was a surprise as it’s an unusual present – we can change our names to Lord and Lady now, so I think we’ll get that done.”

The couple received a gold embossed certificate, an information brochure and a postcard of the crest insignia, and are also dedicated a whole two square feet of land in the Lake District.