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Namesake search throws up a belter

THE conversation frequently goes like this:

"Leadbetter?" the other person will ask brightly. "Any relation to David Leadbetter?"

"Ah, you mean the well-known golf coach, don't you?" I venture.

"Yeah [Eagerly]. Are you?"

"No. Sadly, the only other Leadbetters I've ever come across are Margo and Jerry in The Good Life" - this being a cultural reference that is generally lost on anyone under the age of 35.

But Leadbetter is such an unusual name that I tend to notice it whenever it crops up online or on TV. In the US there's a piece of Fair Pay legislation that bears the name of Lilly Ledbetter, who spent years campaigning for equality of pay between the sexes.

In this country there's an English footballer by the name of Grant Leadbitter. But, apart from David, Margo and Jerry, that seemed to be it.

The other day - and I appreciate that this is taking navel-gazing to an unappetising new depth, but still - I thought it might be an idea to see if anyone else out there is named Russell Leadbetter.

The answer, according to LinkedIn, is yes, and they all seem to be doing rather better (pun not intended) than me.

There's a Russell Leadbetter who works as a solutions consultant in New South Wales. In Phoenix, Arizona, Russ Leadbetter is a senior IT project manager. And in Columbus, Ohio, there's a Russ Leadbetter who is a "program manager at Xerox".

Stretching things slightly, there's a sprinkling of Russell/Russel/Russ Ledbetters (no "a") from Dallas-Fort Worth to North Carolina. One of them works as a fire chief in Birmingham, Alabama.

There's even, in Houston, Texas, a Rusty Ledbetter, which strikes me as an inordinately cooler version of my own name.

Over on Facebook, there's an Aussie Russell Leadbetter whose hair has been boldly tufted into lots of miniature ponytails (something I could never do in a month of Sundays).

Anyway, I've been thinking of emailing all the people named here and asking if they'd like to form some sort of club.

We could even get together once a year for an informal conference - think of the money we'd save on name-badges.

An international convention of Russel(l) Le(a)dbetters. Now there's a solemn thought.

In the meantime, call me Rusty.

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