Nigel name shortage sparks ‘Nige-fest’ after pub landlord vows to bring it back

A pub landlord has vowed to save Britain from running out of Nigels by staging the world’s biggest ‘Nige-fest’ where parents who give the name to their kids get prizes.

Nigel Smith came up with the idea after The Office for National Statistics revealed it recorded no baby Nigels born in 2016 or 2020.

The stats revealed that more babies were even named Lucifer last year, than were called Nigel. The parents of 15 children saw fit to name their little ones after the devil, while Nigel was thrown on the trash heap.

The last time the name was in the ONS top 100 list was 1974. In a bid to save the name, the 58-year-old is inviting Nigels from across the world to join him for a celebratory knees-up.

He is promising a free pint to each and every Nigel who can provide ID, and a special prize to any parents who have named their children Nigel.

Nigel, who runs the Fleece Inn, in Bretforton, Worcs., currently holds the world record for the largest gathering of Nigels after 432 joined him for a pint in 2019.

Attendees brought photo ID and signed the “the book of Nigel” to make a list for Guinness to verify their new record.

Now he wants to smash that record and is planning a weekend Nige-fest at his pub next year.

Nigel said: “It started as a laugh to get Nigels together. There were no Nigels registered in 2016 so I thought it would be a good idea to get us all together.

“When I found out no new Nigels were born in 2020 I got worried and was determined to celebrate the name before it dies out.

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“We’ve sent the word out across the world to get as many Nigels here as we possibly can.

“They’ll be prizes for anyone who has named their child Nigel and for any expectant mums who promise to name their sons Nigel too.

“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 neither are called Nigel.

“I think names are cyclical and it’s gone out of fashion. A lot of people don’t like the name but I think we can make it popular again.”

Nigel, who runs the boozer with partner Tash, 42, believes one of the reasons the name has become so unpopular is down to ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

A German study in 2011 found that people with names considered unfashionable at the time they are given were more likely to be rejected.

Nigel added: “I think we can get the name back in vogue again. When we held the Nigel record attempt in 2019 we had a Nigel come all the way over from Texas.

“We’re hoping to smash the record next year. All our rooms are booked for the weekend and we hope to get over 1,000 Nigels here.”

Because of data protection, the ONS will not release data on names that less than three children have been given, meaning that that two babies or fewer were given the name.

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