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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February 2005, 20:15 GMT
Bearing the cross of being called Cruz
By John Hand
BBC News

David Beckham
David Beckham's Spanish-born son has several namesakes in Britain
Playgrounds can be tough places for young boys even when you have not got uber-famous parents who saddle you with a name which the tabloid press gleefully informs the world is more suited to a senorita.

But should Cruz Beckham find himself the subject of derisory name-calling for his distinctive moniker in the years ahead, he can call on reassurance from Britain's rather exclusive "Cruz club" - the small number of people who share that famous forename.

If anyone taunts him that his name is, well, girly, he can point people in the direction of a 50-year-old man who has built a career in the very macho surroundings of the BMW car production line in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Cruz Fernandes says: "I've always been proud of my name and possibly a little more now.

"It's a very good name for a young boy."

Mr Fernandes says he was watching the BBC News when he first learned about his famous namesake: "I phoned my wife Celia and told her that another Cruz had come into the world."

'Not unusual'

Mr Fernandes owes his name to his Portuguese ancestry - the word, as in Spanish, literally means "cross", but in a religious sense rather than those things which Senor Beckham swings in from the right wing.

He was born in the Indian state of Goa, a Portuguese colony at that time, and ended up in England five years ago.

Mr Fernandes says he has never encountered any problems or confusion over his name.

"It is nice and short and once I spell it for people, they always get it right," he said.

For those who think Cruz is an unusual name for a boy, Mr Fernandes has some surprising news.

"When I started at BMW, I wasn't even the only Cruz in my workplace. There was another man also from Goa who was called Cruz as well."

His advice to his newest namesake: "I would tell him to always be social as he grows up, to be very kind and always good to others."

The name Cruz is more commonly given for women, one of whom is Cruz Evans who has for the last 15 years been quietly living in London with an Englishman who went to Ecuador on an archaeological dig and fell in love with one of the local treasures, marrying her and bringing her home.

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But since David Beckham decided that Cruz would be the latest name to trouble his tattooist with, she herself has been experiencing a small degree of fame.

A TV camera crew and a national newspaper photographer have already visited her south London home, much to the bemusement of her nine-year-old son Julian.

Mrs Evans said Julian was a Manchester United fan who was excited to suddenly find out his mother had a connection to one of the club's most famous former players.

She says: "I'm glad they chose that name for their son. It's not an English name and it's nice they chose something to reflect where he was born."

Ironically Mrs Evans says she had reverted to using her middle name Petra in recent years. "But all my friends are now phoning me up and wanting to call me Cruz again."

Julian said: "It's a good name for a baby and it's cool that my mum has got the same name as the son of somebody very famous."

Cruz Andrew McInerney
Young Cruz Andrew McInerney has a Beckham-style name and haircut
Cruz is a moderately popular surname in Britain with at least 239 households appearing on the most recent electoral register with that name.

As a forename, its use is far more exclusive, with just 17 adult voters in Britain registered as Cruz, the vast majority of them women.

The youngest Beckham boy also has a number of namesakes around the world.

One of the youngest is two-year-old Cruz Andrew McInerney from Australia, whose British-based stepmother Georgie McInerney, of Sherborne, Dorset, e-mailed the BBC News website to dispute the contention by much of the media that the Beckhams had given their son a girl's name.

She wrote: "Apart from the odd comment of 'that's an unusual name', it has not caused anyone to bat an eyelid.

"In Australia, people think some of the more traditional male names such as Henry or Alfred or Rupert would be much crueller to lumber a child with.

"No-one has ever mistaken it for a girl's name and I think all the fuss over a slightly different name is silly."

The Beckhams in the spotlight
20 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Cruz a silly boy?
21 Feb 05 |  Funny Old Game

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