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Pub Owner Holds 'Nigel Night' To Celebrate A Vanishing Name In The U.K.


If you had to think of a quintessential British male name, you might come up with Simon, maybe Oliver or maybe Nigel. Five thousand Nigels were, in fact, born in 1963 - not so much anymore.

NIGEL SMITH: Back in 2016, there were no babies in the U.K. given the name Nigel.


That's Nigel Smith. He owns The Fleece Inn in Worcestershire.

SMITH: So I thought maybe we were becoming a dying breed.

KELLY: So this Nigel decided to raise Nigel awareness.

SMITH: I conceived of the idea of a Nigel night and was the organizer or, some would say, the organ-Nigel (ph) of the event.

CORNISH: Four hundred and thirty-four men named Nigel showed up last Sunday to show Nigel solidarity. Most of them were born between 1950 and 1980. And for the 56-year-old event host, it was just like being back in school, when he had three Nigels in class.

SMITH: There was just a wave of Nigels going on at that time.

KELLY: And Sunday, when the Nigels turned out in force, each one got a free pint.

SMITH: People had to register, prove their identity as a Nigel and then they got themselves a Nigel badge.

KELLY: The youngest Nigel to get one of those badges was 7 months old. And the award for a Nigel making the longest journey went to a Nigel who had travelled all the way from Colorado. But awards aside, this was the highlight for Nigel Smith.

SMITH: The main thing was the fact that all these Nigels who'd never met each other were really keen to chat with one another and talk and share their stories of their lives and meet new people and come together in the kind of Nigel community.

CORNISH: And that community could be getting bigger. There were eight Nigels born in the U.K. in 2017 and 11 in 2018. Nigel Smith predicts a comeback for that ever-so-British name.

SMITH: So a small but inexorable climb in the number of new Nigels on the planet.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPINAL TAP SONG, "HELL HOLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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