A celebration of ‘Nigelness’

A pub in Worcestershire recently played host to more than 430 Nigels from around the world – including some who travelled from as far away as the US.

The mass gathering of people named Nigel was designed to “celebrate Nigelness” after a recent study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data suggested there had been no babies named Nigel in the year 2016.

The event was hosted by the pub’s landlord Nigel Smith, who hopes that the event will help to raise awareness of the name.

He said: “I’ve always felt that the name’s much-maligned – people would say to me when I was young: ‘Nigel, that’s got to be a joke name hasn’t it?’

“So, it was really just to get a few Nigels together in the same room, to share Nigel stories and celebrate our Nigelness – that was the original intention.”

He arranged the event in Bretherton and, after an advert on Facebook was circulated worldwide, he was delighted with the turnout.

“We got some 433 Nigels there last night, plus about another thousand non-Nigels who’d just come along for a laugh,” he said.

Nigels who attended had to prove their namesake by showing a passport or driving licence and were rewarded with a free pint and a Nigel badge.

Smith said: “We had a singer, a busker – both called Nigel – and a comedian called Nigel. We had Nigel awards for the furthest travelled, the youngest, oldest. We picked a collective noun for Nigels, which is a niggle of Nigels.

“We basically registered all the Nigels into the building so we knew how many were there so we could claim at least an unofficial record if nothing else.”

Smith added: “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.”

Despite the Nigel-free year in 2016, ONS statistics have since shown that there have been nearly 20 babies who have been given the name.