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Ring of security stops May Morning jumpers
9:30am Wednesday 2nd May 2012 in Oxford
TIGHT security to stop May Morning revellers jumping off Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge was last night hailed a success.
Officials said no-one was reported to have jumped from the bridge as 4,000 people gathered for the centuries-old tradition to welcome in spring.
Three would-be jumpers were thwarted by security guards as they tried to leap into the River Cherwell. No arrests were made.
Despite a dramatic storm in the early hours, the weather cleared enough for the Magdalen College choir to maintain its tradition of singing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower.
Bad weather and the fact May 1 fell on a weekday this year saw only a fraction of last year’s 18,000 turnout, when the event fell on a Sunday.
Paul Rogers, from East Oxford, said he didn’t think twice about getting out of bed at 4.40am to wait in the rain.
He said: “I’ve been coming here for the past 10 to 15 years. This is the wettest one yet.
“It’s part of being an Oxfordian. It’s one of the traditions of Oxford we can all participate in.”
Jennifer Yaxsley and Sarah Truby, from Yarnton, wore matching ponchos to brave the rain.
Miss Yaxsley said: “We are here most years. Usually we go out and party all night but his year it’s a little bit different because it’s a week night.”
Bars and clubs in Cornmarket and High Street were busy as people stayed out all night.
Cafes opened early to serve breakfast to those arriving in the dark, while in St Giles, morris dancers cut a colourful dash after the break of dawn.
It was the second year running authorities had opened the bridge to pedestrians after it was closed completely following May Morning 2005, when 40 people were injured and 12 needed hospital treatment after jumping into the river.
Rachel Capell, events and international links officer at Oxford City Council, hailed the event a success.
She said: “Even given the wet weather, 3,000 to 4,000 people have come out to enjoy what is a traditional event.
“A couple of people did attempt to get over the barriers but they were kindly, but firmly, persuaded not to.”
Police Supt Paul Hayles added: “We are pleased that people in Oxford were able to enjoy the traditional celebration of May Morning peacefully and safely.”
South Central Ambulance Service emergency services manager Alan Weir, , said: “We responded to five minor incidents. No-one needed hospital treatment.”
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