When Nigel Smith organised an event in honour of his name, he had no idea the impact it would have.

Now Nigel has said he would encourage more landlords to organise events that bring life back into our community pubs.

The event which saw 435 people from across the UK and beyond come together at The Fleece Arms near Evesham, Worcestershire, was organised after Nigel discovered that there were no babies given the name Nigel in the year 2016.

He said: "I knew that the name was dying out so I thought we had better celebrate it before we all disappear! It was just an idea of a get together with people of a much maligned name to celebrate our Nigel-ness!

"It just snowballed. The fact that with a few weeks notice we got 435 people is amazing.

"One of the problems we have is it's really hard to keep making things happen and to make the pub work. Many pubs are going out of business. So anything that's going to drive business and create a bit of interest reminds people that we are there. It's got to be a good thing.

"It breathes vitality into the business."

 

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People who weren't called Nigel were invited along but they had to wear a badge that said "not Nigel". During the event, around £1,000 was raised for the British Heart Foundation.

So what did the pub's regulars think of the event?

"My locals know I am a bit barmy so they weren't really surprised that I decided to do it," Nigel added.

"We do lots of weird and wonderful stuff from time to time. But I think they were quite gobsmacked that so many people turned up. They joined the throngs of non-Nigel's.

"I think people were astounded by the scale of it. But I have had lots of very positive comments."

 

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One man travelled all the way from Texas, USA. After hearing about the event on social media, his girlfriend organised a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to send him over to the UK to attend the event.

"The whole thing just captured people's imagination," Nigel added.

"In today's terrible times with the devastating stuff that's happening in the world, what was great was the sense of togetherness and community which was instantaneous when people arrived.

"People were talking about where people were from and it reminded me of what the English pub is all about which is talking to each other and coming together. That's how things used to be and still are in many local pubs."