Hereford & Worcester

'Nigel Night' celebrates 'dying breed'

Nigel Smith with a pub goer Image copyright Nigel Smith
Image caption Making Plans for Nigel: Landlord Nigel Smith (right) said he wanted to celebrate the "dying breed"

More than 400 Nigels from across the world have gathered at a village pub to "celebrate Nigel-ness".

In recent years the name has been on the brink of extinction in England and Wales, with fewer than three Nigels born in 2016.

Nigel Smith, who runs the Fleece Inn, near Evesham, Worcestershire, said he wanted to do something to celebrate the "dying breed".

In total 432 Nigels - from seven months old to 80 - were at the "Nigel Night".

Image copyright Nigel Smith
Image caption The "Nigel Night" featured the specially-brewed Nige Ale

The landlord said he was shocked to hear about the decline of the name.

"We're a bit of a dying breed," he said.

"I wanted to celebrate Nigel-ness."

Image copyright Nigel Smith
Image caption Entertainment was put on by a comedian called Nigel and two Nigel singers

Mr Smith said he believed Saturday's event had broken a world record for a Nigel gathering by attracting Nigels from as far away as New Zealand.

Image copyright Nigel Smith
Image caption Some non-Nigels were also allowed to attend the Nigel Night

He said a comedian called Nigel had been on the bill, "two Nigel singers and a woman even proposed to her boyfriend called Nigel on stage".

The pub also attracted the region's MP - Nigel Huddleston - and served specially made beers including Nig-ale.

"Conversation flowed easily because you didn't need to ask anyone's name," Mr Smith said.

However, he added it was difficult to find anyone by calling their name, as "everyone turned around".

Image copyright Nigel Smith

So many Nigels turned up, they could not fit in the pub and a marquee had to be set up to accommodate them all.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that eight baby boys called Nigel were born in 2018 and the name has become less popular over the years.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nigel no-shows included Nigel Mansell, Nigel Kennedy and Nigel Farage

"Like many names, they go in cycles," Mr Smith said, adding he was confident it would make a comeback.

Nigels descended on the Worcestershire village from Cyprus, Australia, New Zealand and California, Mr Smith said, and special recognition was given to "Texan Nigel" who raised money especially to attend.

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