Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 09:50 UK

Jumpers flout May Day bridge ban

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People took the plunge when the bridge reopened to traffic

About a dozen people have jumped off Oxford's historic Magdalen Bridge as part of its traditional annual May Day celebrations.

Safety fears meant the bridge was closed for the third year running, but the jumpers took the plunge when the bridge reopened to traffic.

About 40 people were hurt in 2005 after they ignored police and jumped into the water, which is about 2ft (60cm) deep.

Police said despite the jumps, this year's event passed off peacefully.

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

Revellers celebrate May Day at dawn in Oxford
Hundreds turned out at dawn to celebrate at Magdalen Bridge

The celebration on 1 May is thought of by some as an ancient Spring tradition.

University bosses, council chiefs and senior police officers decided to close the bridge during the celebrations for four years, following the 2005 event.

John Kelly, emergency planner at Oxfordshire County Council, said: "A number of years ago we had about 40 injuries and that cost the health service about 50,000.

"That's one of the reasons we don't want people jumping off the bridge and that's why we've put in all these precautions."

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

Thames Valley Police had been reconsidering this year's closure, after a spokesman said they did not want to "put such draconian measures in place".

Jump bridge may open next May Day
24 May 07 |  Oxfordshire
May Day bridge jumpers flout ban
01 May 07 |  Oxfordshire
May Day bridge tradition banned
30 Apr 07 |  Oxfordshire
Bridge closed for three May Days
02 Jun 06 |  Oxfordshire
May Day revellers party on bridge
01 May 04 |  Oxfordshire

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