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433 Nigels walk into a bar.....

Posted on 03rd, Oct 2019
Nigels from as far away as the US flock to Fleece Inn in Worcestershire for Nigel-themed knees-up

More than 400 people named Nigel gathered in a country pub for a special party designed to “celebrate Nigelness”.

The event at the Fleece Inn in Worcestershire, was attended by 433 Nigels, according to landlord Nigel Smith - including one who flew over from America.

Smith, 56, hopes he has done his bit to help put the name back on the map with his event in the village of Bretforton, which also raised money for the British Heart Foundation.

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.”

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

All Nigels were required to prove their credentials with 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.

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.

Smith 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 Huddleston along, but the other politicians whose name are Nigel perhaps wouldn’t be welcome.”

After the Nigel-free year in 2016, ONS statistics show there have been nearly 20 babies who have been given the name over the last couple of years.

Smith believes he and the 432 other Nigels at his celebration did their bit to improve the name’s reputation.

“I think we’ve brought it back,” he said. “We will resurge – there’ll be a lot more Nigels next year than this year, I’d definitely put money on that.

“And we’ve just taken away a little bit of that stigma and reaffirmed what a fantastic name Nigel is – once you’ve grown into it. It takes a little while.”



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