A pub landlord is believed to have set a new world record for the largest gathering of Nigels in one place – in a last ditch bid to stop the name dying out.
Nigel Smith, 56, came up with the idea in 2016 after no newborns were called Nigel that year.
We previously reported how though the name Corbyn is growing in popularity, sadly parents are ditching the name Nigel for their newborns.
After not one baby was given the name Nigel in 2017 too according to the Office of National Statistics, some singled out one particular Nigel to blame. James McGrory, of Open Britain, blamed Mr Farage: “It seems he caused a backlash.
“It’s a sad day for the great Nigels in British history. I hope he has the courage to phone the likes of Mansell, Benn and Winterburn to offer apologies.”
But this weekend pub landlord Nigel Smith hoped to reverse the trend with his world record Nigel gathering attempt.
In response a total of 432 Nigels from all over the world got together at the Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire, for an evening of Nigel-themed refreshment and entertainment. Joining them around 1,000 Nigel fans too.
Attendees brought photo ID and signed the “the book of Nigel” to make a list for Guinness to verify their new record.
“The Nigel who shall not be named”
“It started as a laugh to get Nigels together. We are going extinct in 2019,” said Nigel Smith.
“In the year I was born, 1963, there were over 5,000 Nigels born. It was peak Nigel.
“It was so ubiquitous and it became much-maligned. At school I used to have the mickey taken out of me. I’ve got two children and none are called Nigel.
“I think names are cyclical and it’s gone out of fashion. A lot of people don’t like the name.
“It’s possible the Nigel who shall not be named, Nigel Farage, has had an impact.
“A man who changed his name from Nigel to Niall came and we convinced him to pull himself together.”
Nigel added: “We raised money for the British Heart Foundation because us Nigels are getting to a certain age.”
Nigel said he was thrilled with the level of interest from around the world to his idea after his invite went viral on social media – and hoped it could spark a revival of his favourite name.
He added: “I put out a press release to local media and since then it’s gone viral around the UK. I’ve been on two Australian and one New Zealand radio station.
“A total of 432 Nigels turned up. One Nigel from California happened to be in the UK and came and another travelled over from Texas.
“People also came from all over the country – from Newcastle, Cornwall and even a few from Scotland.
“There wasn’t space in the pub, so we all gathered in a marquee outside.
“We’re trying to get more Nigels into the world. A nine-month-old Nigel came.
“My partner Tash, 40, an events manager, thinks it’s hilarious and has been very supportive. But she’ll be pleased to get her own Nigel back.
“A band of two Nigels played songs by or about Nigels and there was a comedian called Nigel.
“We renamed our scrumpy cider Narky Nigel and had four specially-brewed ales from our suppliers: Nigel, NigAle, Mad Nigel and Nigel’s Best.”
Gratifyingly for those worried about the future of the name, the youngest Nigel there was just seven months old – while the furthest travelled Nigel had crossed the Atlantic just to be there.
Nigel Smith said: “He was a Texan guy who lives in Denver, Colorado, who had seen it on social media and was very keen, so his girlfriend put it out to all the friends to see if they’d each send a few dollars to fund a trip for Nigel to come over, which they duly did.
“That raised enough money for them both to come over, so he was not only our Texan Nigel but also our crowdfunded Nigel.”
The Texan Nigel proved the most notable visitor on a day when one person in particular was notable by her absence.
Nigel said: “There were no Nigellas, which was a bit sad really – the whole thing was a ruse to try and get Nigella Lawson along. We didn’t have any celebrity Nigels but it’s their loss. Maybe the next time round they’ll make the right decision and come along.
“We did have our local MP Nigel Nuddleston along, but the other politicians whose name are Nigel perhaps wouldn’t be welcome.”