Pub aims to beat own ‘Nigel Night’ record

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Name celebration: (l-r) Nigel Smith, licensee of the Fleece Inn, Bretforton is hosting the Nigel Night, pictured with musician Nigel Walton
Name celebration: (l-r) Nigel Smith, licensee of the Fleece Inn, Bretforton is hosting the Nigel Night, pictured with musician Nigel Walton

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A Worcestershire licensee is planning to smash its own world record for holding the largest gathering of people called Nigel, in a bid to revive a name that is in danger of becoming extinct.

According to official data from the Office of National Statistics, during 2016 and 2020, no babies were named Nigel.

This promoted licensee of the Fleece Inn, Bretforton in Worcestershire, Nigel Smith to act. Three years ago​, he hosted Nigel Night at the pub​, which was dedicated to those named Nigel and attracted 434 namesakes.

It was the first time a record had been attempted for a gathering of Nigels, not an official Guinness World Record category.

Now, Smith is planning to improve on the previous record and is looking to attract more than 1,000 Nigels to the pub​ this month (24 September).

Plenty of fight

Licensee Nigel Smith said: “We’re already on track to beat our 2019 world record as more than 500 people have booked their place for the evening, which is unbelievable given we haven’t been proactively promoting it for a while and it shows there is plenty of fight in Nigel yet.

“Our first Nigel Night seems to have left a bit of a legacy though as since then we have had nearly 1,000 Nigels sign ‘the book of Nigel’ that we have behind the bar.

“I’ve researched the name Nigel and apparently it is associated with darkness, which is perhaps why it is a name that has been on the decline since 1965.

“However, I’m hoping as a result of our joyful efforts, we will start to see a few more baby Nigels over the coming years.”

This year's event will start at 2.30pm and go on until 11.30pm at the Fleece and in a nearby barn, marquee and orchard.

Furthermore, the operator is also searching for entertainers with a specific skillset to perform at the event too.

Light-hearted fun

Smith added: “Just as you thought finding Nigels wasn’t hard enough, I am also looking to recruit a team of Morris dancers called Nigel to perform on the evening, so if you fit the criteria then please get in touch with me.

“Anyone is of course welcome to join in our celebrations – we’ve also had a number of Nigellas attending to strengthen our numbers.”

Nigels attending will receive a badge and free pint on proof of their name however, other named individuals will also be welcome. Funds are also being raised for the British Heart Foundation, with the aim of raising about £3,000.

Shakespeare’s England, which is responsible for attracting tourism to the local area, also lauded the event.

Chief executive Helen Paters said: “It is fantastic to not only see many people from the globe coming together in Shakepeare’s England for some light-hearted fun but it’s also positive news for many of our accommodation and hospitality providers who will no doubt benefit from an increase in visitors.

“There is always something unique and exciting happening in the area and this diversity is what makes Shakespeare’s England such a great place to visit.

“I hope Nigel – or should I say the Nigels – have a brilliant evening and can end up turning this gathering into an iconic annual event.”

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