Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 08:39 UK

Jumpers leap off May Day bridge


A group of people jumped off and one was later arrested

May Day revellers jumped off Oxford's Magdalen Bridge after it was reopened following an overnight closure.

The bridge has been closed for the past three years during the traditional celebrations to stop people jumping into the River Cherwell.

In 2005 when the bridge was last left open, 40 people were injured when about 100 jumped off it.

Several people leaped off on Friday morning. One one person was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Naomi Stokes, 20, a student at Oxford Brookes University, took the plunge with a friend, Christopher Wortom, also 20, and from the same university.

It is irritating when people try to portray the bridge jumping nonsense as a tradition that goes back for decades
Mark Blandford-Baker

Standing on the bridge afterwards, she said: "We really wanted to celebrate May Day somehow but unfortunately we missed the first bit which is a shame.

"But I think we got here for the best bit - it was great. I want to come back and jump every year.

"It was fun, a bit cold, but definitely worth it," said the English and Drama student.

Mark Blandford-Baker, home bursar of Magdalen College, said the bridge jumping only started in the early 1980s.

He said: "It is irritating when people try to portray the bridge jumping nonsense as a tradition that goes back for decades.

"People in years gone by had more sense than to want to throw themselves several feet in to a shallow river and run a high risk of broken bones and sprains."

In 2005 the ambulance service said treating those injured after they jumped from the bridge cost it £50,000.

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