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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 12:26 GMT
Jumpers' bridge closes on May Day
A jumper climbing the bridge
Last year, ten May Day jumpers ended up in hospital
The site of Oxford's traditional May Day bridge jump is to be closed after revellers were injured last year.

Magdalen Bridge will be closed this May Day because of safety concerns voiced by the police and ambulance staff.

Last year, about 12,000 people attended the event, with scores ignoring warnings and jumping into the river. Ten people ended up in hospital.

The bridge was previously closed for four May Days between 1998 and 2001 after one person was left paralysed.

Talks between council chiefs, police, ambulance bosses and Magdalen College over whether to close the bridge again have been held since September 2005.

Magdalen Bridge
The bridge has been closed before because of safety fears
The decision to close the bridge has been supported by Oxford University's Students' Union.

Emma Norris, the union's president, said: "It is a shame that a minority of individuals feel the need to hurt themselves by jumping from Magdalen bridge during May Day celebrations and that their actions will this year result in the enjoyment of the majority of revellers being restricted.

"We fully support both the council and Thames Valley Police in their attempts to prevent unnecessary injuries, but in future years hope to find a solution that does not involve the closing of Magdalen Bridge."

Ch Supt David McWhirter, of Thames Valley Police, said: "Closure is the only real option for the safety of all but we will ensure that the event is still enjoyable.

"The cost of the closure is small in comparison with the cost of loss of life or serious injury either to those attending or the responding services."

Mark Blandford-Baker, the Home Bursar of Magdalen College, said it was keen to support the authorities.

He said: "We have deliberated long and hard on the options and the local authorities feel that it is the only way to ensure the enjoyment and the safety of the crowd and staff."

Every year thousands of people gather on and around Magdalen Bridge to hear choristers sing hymns at dawn from the tower at Magdalen College.




SEE ALSO:
Newspaper faces May Day criticism
17 May 05 |  Oxfordshire
Five in hospital over bridge jump
02 May 05 |  Oxfordshire
Warning over May Day bridge jump
29 Apr 05 |  Oxfordshire
May Day revellers party on bridge
01 May 04 |  Oxfordshire
Safety plan to tame May Day party
26 Apr 04 |  Oxfordshire


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