No runaway names winners this year

ON THE RAILS...the young passengers on this miniature steam railway in the Wellington Pier Gardens p

ON THE RAILS...the young passengers on this miniature steam railway in the Wellington Pier Gardens postwar probably had conventional first names, unlike 2014 when some new parents locally were less staid in their choices. The attraction, sponsored by the defunct national daily newspaper, the News Chronicle, attracted a full complement of passengers despite wet, cool and unseasonal weather.Picture: CLIFFORD TEMPLE - Credit: Archant

WE all have at least one. In most cases, they last us all our lives. A small proportion chooses to change them, or have change thrust upon them with the onset of celebrity perhaps.

I am referring to first names, of course – Christian names, as those of my generation have called them from an era before the arrival of multi-culturism and sensitivities.

Simply, it’s what we are always called by family and for years now I have made an annual superficial study of the names of new- born babies whose parents have formally announced them in the Great Yarmouth Mercury’s births column.

In all honesty, the past couple of years have been disappointing and lacklustre, with no runaway winners in terms of the number of times this or that name chosen by proud mums and dads has been listed by me.

Unless I have watching the wrong television programmes, listening to the wrong music, reading the wrong newspapers and periodicals and gossip columns, and going to the wrong cinemas, I cannot detect any local trends or influences in this latest annual name game.

According to an official national list, the most used boy’s name in Britain today is Mohammed, but that name has never been used in a Mercury birth announcement.

Logic says that any parents bestowing that name on their children would probably be comparative newcomers to the area and unlikely to feel the need to announce it in a local newspaper.

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The 2014 publication of the results of a survey by an on-line parenting website claimed that medieval names were making a comeback, listing old English ones like Ned, Alfred, Cole, Audley, Peyton and Wyatt for boys and Millicent, Audrey, Kim/Kym, Kendra, Elvina and Winnie for girls. In the Mercury, only Alfie and Cole fitted that list.

That website also said most of the parents questioned believed names influenced teachers’ responses to children. Teachers felt most positive about George, Edward, Emily, William, Hannah and Elizabeth whereas they assumed that misbehaviour might come from Jayden, Crystal, Bailey, Chase, Tyler and Phoenix.

George, Edward and William do not feature in the Mercury 2014 list of “positive” first names but Emily and Elizabeth do. None of those potentially naughty names was chosen as a first name by parents who announced their new-born in our column.

That website survey also highlighted names parents thought would make their children stand out, and gave examples like Lanesra (Arsenal spelt backwards), Egypt, Galaxy-Star, Kaseza, Cash and Misti-Rae.

Although our Yarmouth area new parents largely avoided extreme names, it cannot be suggested that these local mothers and fathers lacked imagination, as can be seen from the following selection of “du-different” in good old Norfolk tradition, perhaps in the name itself, its spelling, or a so-called traditional name resurrected.

Boys: Aiden Albert Edward, Alfie David George, Ashton Lee, Aston, Billy-Joe, Elwin Arturo, Finlay, Finnley Archie Henry, Freddie, Frederick, Nigel, Ross Graham, Harry, Hartley Lawes, Herbie, Hugo Ryan, Jacob Patrick, Jake, Jaxon, Johnny Leon, Jonah, Joshua Ran Albert, Kielan, Kellan, Leo, Logan Jake, Max Bernard, Nathan, Noah Cohen, Ollie Cole, Oscar, Reece, Reggie Ray, Seth Barney, Theo Alun, Toby, Zachary and Zayn.

Girls: Amelia, Arla Jacqueline Helen, Ava, Beau, Caitlyn Emilia, Chloe, Clementine, Daisy Violet, Darcey, Edie Bae, Elizabeth, Ellie, Evie, Francesca Lily, Grace Anna, Hollie, Honey Faith, Hope Sophia, Indie, Isabelle, Isla, Jennifer, Lainey Iris, Lila-Star, Luna Sally, Lydia Emily, Lylah Cheryl Shannon, Margot Phyllis Mary (Lord and Lady Somerleyton’s daughter), Millie Martha, Mollie Rae, Poppy Michelle, Roxy, Skyler Primrose, Sofia Alice, Summer Ada, Zoe.

Our most chosen boy’s first name was Finlay (also spelt Finley and Finnley), counting as three, followed by Freddie/Frederick, Logan and Max with two a-piece; 38 different first-names were listed.

The previous year, 2013, six names were joint first, none of which made the top three in 2014!

As for last year’s middle names, David and John netted four each, followed by James and John with three a-piece.

All names for boys regardless of first or following name? Of the 59 chosen, John/Johnny (5) and David (4) emerged as the most popular.

In my 2014 girls’ list of 40 different first names, Poppy was top, bestowed upon three babies as their first name, one more than Amelia, Emily, Isla and Lila/Lylah. Middle-name and all-name favourite was Mae/Mai/May (5) but was never picked as a first name.

In 2013 first names, Grac(i)e was top of the pops (used four times) but was chosen only once in 2014.