When he heard that no babies born in Britain in 2016 were named Nigel, Nigel Smith began to fret that the people with whom he shared a first name were a “dying breed.”
“I thought that’s a bit of a worry, really, because most of us are over a certain age,” Smith told As It Happens host Carol Off.
Instead of going into mourning, however, he decided to have some fun with it. He owns the Fleece Inn, near Worcestershire, so he organized “Nigel Night” at the pub.
“We’re going to die out soon, so it’s important to sort of celebrate our Nigel-ness before we all pop off the planet.”
Smith says 434 Nigels — including himself — joined in the festivities on Saturday to enjoy some music, food and celebrating their mutual “Nigel-ness.”
It’s believed to be the biggest gathering of Nigels in the world — though it’s unclear who’s keeping track of this unusual statistic…
All attending Nigels, ranging in age from seven months to 80 years old, were verified with an ID check, and handed a badge with their name on it. Other attendees were issued badges that read “Not Nigel” on them.
According to the U.K. Office for National Statistics, no boys born in 2016 were named Nigel. The name enjoyed a slight uptick with 11 new Nigels in 2017, and eight in 2018.
That number pales in comparison to the most popular name, Oliver, which saw 5,390 new additions in 2018. Other top boys’ names over the last decade included George, Harry, Noah and Jack.
Smith didn’t rule out the possibility that Farage’s role in the 2016 Brexit referendum may have even played a part in the dearth of newborn Nigels that year.
“Despite the man, we are fighting back.”