Proud Dereks: Readers lumbered with unfashionable names

baby sleeping

Readers sent in hundreds of emails in response to our piece on the decline of Derek and other unfashionable names.

Dereks got in touch with divided opinions on their names. People also shared their experience of other "unfashionable" names.

The Dereks

I was born in 1972 and christened Derek Edwin Grubb (despite never having appeared in a Dickens novel). I hated my name. From quite an early age, I cringed every time it was called. Even as a child I felt there was something not quite right with "Derek". Being from Liverpool, I was nicknamed Degsy. Meanwhile "Degsy" Hatton was "taking on the Tories". It was a stigma throughout my teenage years. While I wasn't shy with girls I'd say it definitely hindered my success with them. When I was 18 I changed my name. I sort of regret that choice now, it's a bit action hero-ish, but I'd rather live with a name an 18-year version of me chose, than the one my parents gave me. Jake Ryan, formerly Derek, Liverpool

My name is Derek (I am 25), my dad's name is Derek, and his dad's name is Derek too. It lives on. Derek, Glasgow

My father, Derek Alfred, wanted to keep Derek in the family name so he gave me and my two brothers Derek - Derek Mark, Derek Matthew and John Derek. None of us use it as a first name. He was very keen on the name and he was very proud of it. He realised it was unusual, it wasn't fashionable even then I think. He was also keen to keep the name in the family. Me and my brothers have ten boys between us but none of them are called Derek. I think my father was secretly disappointed but he never said anything. Derek Mark Heasman

My seven-week-old son is called Derrick Jr after my grandad who passed away in December. I love it. It can be shortened in so many ways plus he'll keep his lovely great grandad in our thoughts every time we look at him. Emma Thomas, Cornwall

Sometimes "posh" people look askance when they hear my name. Derek Wright, London

By implication, you are suggesting that I am not popular and unlikely to be rehabilitated. I have been a Derek for 68 years. It has never been a problem for me apart from with people who cannot pronounce their letter Rs. In some quarters, I have learned to respond to DEWEK. Disgruntled Dewek of Grafton Regis

Derek Jory and son, Derwin Derek Jory and son, Denver

And now I know I'm part of a dying breed. My name is Derek, a name I've loved for 28 years. It always served me well, mainly because nothing rhymes with it. Bullies on the playground were speechless. Awesome. I had a son two years ago, my wife and I named him Denver. I would have named him Derek Jr, but my wife wasn't having that. Apparently she agrees with your article and Derek just isn't fashionable anymore. Derek Jory, Vancouver, Canada

Being named Derek myself, I enjoy having such a unique name in a world filled with Johns, Jacks, Michaels and Davids. In a time when individuality it becoming less and less apparent I like to think it gives me a platform to stand out amongst the more popular and frequently used names. Derek Amoako, London

Oh I didn't realise I had an unfashionable name. Thank you BBC for letting me know. Derek, Kirkcaldy

I'm a Derek born in the East End of London in 1955. Everything was "cushty" up until I was 26 in 1981. That was the year Only Fools and Horses started on TV. From then on I was Del Boy whether I liked it or not! I've had to live with it for 31 years so far, and it isn't getting any better! Derek Edmonds, Great Yarmouth

My son is Derek, I had him in 2003 and named him after a childhood friend. I love his name and how strong and masculine it sounds, in addition to an athletic name overall. His personality and talents match the name perfectly and of course any athlete named Derek is his favourite athlete. Carla Liberty, Nebraska, USA

Derek Irwin and son Derek Irwin and son Derek

My five-year old nephew is called Derick. We were a little surprised at the choice of name at first but my sister-in-law really liked the name and now all the family have warmed to it too. Derek was also coincidentally the name of my brother's teddy-bear - named after one of our neighbours at the time - which may also have had something to do with the appeal of the name. Miranda Hazrati, London

I was born in 1947 and am called Derek, with my son born in 1995 also being called Derek. I am very proud of the name Derek, and with there being less people nowadays with the same name, it tends to make you feel more special, rather than the run of common names. Derek Irwin, Hampshire

Other older names

My name is Maud and my husband's name is Derek. Apparently we both have names which are "immune to rehabilitation". Maud Lithgow, Glasgow

Baby Edmund Baby Edmund

My kids have sensible names, but my dad, born 1922, was called Ebenezer (shortened to Ebe by all who knew him). He had colleagues at the paper-mill where he worked called Ezekiel and Amos. Bob Hutton, Edinburgh

Our little boy was born in April 2012 and we called him Edmund. We liked it because it has heritage (King, Halley etc), meaning (wealthy protector), can be used formally (Edmund) or shortened (Ed, Eddie) and is not commonly used. I hope he doesn't hate us for it later. Adrian Holt, Bristol

Our son was seven this July and we called him Ernest, he is Ernie to us but every now and again we use his full name and he likes it and everyone compliments us and him on his name. Receptionists in particular love it. Carolyn MacLeish, London

We have a baby Maude who is 18 months old, we are expecting a boy in October... is this an omen that we should call him Derek? Emma, London

The unfortunate

I would never call my child Barry. I can't understand what possessed my parents to give it to me. There are no "cool" Barrys. If a TV producer, or script writer wants to infer nerdish, bumbling, inferiority on a character, or perhaps signpost some kind of physical affliction - they call them Barry. Barry Chuckle (bumbling idiot), Barry from Eastenders (pathetic doormat), Barry Manilow (over-sized nose), Barry Island (underwhelming resort). Yes, if you want to let everybody know something's a bit rubbish - just call it Barry. Barry, Newcastle upon Tyne

Barry aged 31 Barry hates his name

I'm a Barry. My mother looked at her bundle of joy 31 years ago and staring back at her she saw a Barry. I mean Barry? Are there any cool Barrys in the world? The chuckle brothers? Barry Manilow? No - none at all. Will Barry come back in fashion? Has Barry ever been in fashion? Barry Mason, Liverpool

My great, great aunt was called Golingabeth. I can't seem to convince my wife who is expecting to even consider this name. Graeme Fryer, Bray, Ireland

How depressing that my name Clive appears to be the least popular on your list scoring just four hits last year. What is worse my brother Malcolm scored a magnificent 11. Apparently, I was named after a dirty old rag doll my mum had during the last war. Thanks mum. Clive Bradburn, Maidstone

Clive is far too precious a name to be squandered - if some of these babies grow up and become famous or achieve something truly great they might consider renaming themselves Clive, perhaps. Clive Egan, London

My very unfashionable name is Winifred. I am in my 60s but throughout my life I have rarely heard of anybody with that name, certainly no babies of the present generation. Winifred Robinson, the broadcaster on Radio 4, is the only one that comes to mind. I hate my name so much that I sign myself "Win" and get really cross if people call me Winifred or Winnie. Win Farrell, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Of my generation, there are very, very few called Gordon. Most people I know only know one Gordon, and that's me. I was named after my grandpa. I've endured a litany of nicknames/epithets: "Gordon is a moron" (to which I say thank you, because most people don't know the lyrics) - Gay Gordon (I do dance) - Gordon the Gopher (one of the happiest days of my life was when that infernal puppet got gunged). All in all, I'm happy to stand out and be different. Gordon Mullan, Rushden

As a 61-year-old man, I have suffered all my life with the name Lynn. My mother simply named me after a little-known celebrity of the early 50s because she wanted a name that was not capable of being shortened. For a while I had people such as Welsh long jumper Lynn Davies to allay the perpetual claims that "it was a girl's name". But this led others to believe that it had to be of Welsh derivation. But there are no new male "Lynns" to correct either opinion. All this despite the fact that in the 1930s and 1940s, I believe that Lynn was more popular as a man's name - especially in America. Lynn Jonathan Prescott, Birmingham

The unusual

When people told me my son would suffer playground trauma, after we named him Jedediah John Sherlock Horatio Saabye-Cutler, I pointed out that originality didn't seem to have bothered Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes. In the end, young Jed grew up unscathed, and now loves his unusual name.Tom Cutler, Hove, East Sussex

My partner and I welcomed our first child Meadow in January. We have yet to come across any other children by that name, however there is a fictional character by the name of Meadow Soprano from the TV series The Sopranos. And no, Meadow was not conceived in a meadow. Ceri Morris, Aberdare, Wales

We live in Findhorn in Moray, a community known for its international and new-age lifestyles so the names of the children in the local schools can be at the more unusual end. In our school we have had Red, Kale, Pan, Tarragon, Emerald, Dorian, Sola, Kenji, Asha, Esther... too many to mention. We even had a lovely Maud. Our own children - Gabriel, Alice and Cosmo were named before they moved to the area but at the time of enrolment, Gabriel joined the school with five other Gabriels. Sophie, Morayshire

My daughter's called Panda, not sure why but that seems to be a bit unfashionable at the moment. Pinkie Methven, Perth, Scotland

Bland Tomkinson Bland Tomkinson

Our daughter's name skipped more than a few generations. She's named after the Babylonian goddess of war and sex, Ishtar. My son's name is even more unusual, he's called Till, a German boy's name. German names seem much more unfashionable here than mere ancient gods and goddesses. Liz Jones, Wells, Somerset

My daughter, now 19, has a traditionally male name, Ryan. I chose a male name because I'd read somewhere 20 years ago that men were more likely to get credit than women. I thought it would also help for education and job applications. She didn't like her name when she was little but likes it now. I see male names for girls also as a trend - Jessica Simpson's daughter, Maxwell for example. Joan, Airdrie, Scotland

I bet my name has not featured in the lists at all for a good number of years. It is perhaps softer sounding than Jasper or Rupert but eminently searchable. It sometimes produces a titter in meetings where someone unknowingly uses the word bland rather something more anodyne. I have grown used to the name and it is rather distinctive so I do tend to be remembered. Though my real name is Charles Bland Tomkinson, I have always been called Bland. Bland Tomkinson

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