6:40am Saturday 5th April 2014
MAGDALEN Bridge in Oxford will be open for the fourth year running for this year’s May Morning celebrations.
Last year’s system will be repeated, with two sets of barriers blocking the bridge’s potential jumping points and security staff patrolling the area.
Oxford City Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “No one has jumped in the river from the bridge on May Morning during the past three years.”
In 2005, about 40 people were injured after leaping off the bridge, which was then closed to the public on May Mornings until 2011.
City council leader Bob Price urged revellers not to jump into the Cherwell.
He said: “It is always dangerous to go in the river, regardless of the water levels, and you are often unaware of the currents, the river levels or what lies on the river bed.
“Over the last three years the barriers have been very effective and the number of people who have even shown an interest in getting to the parapets has been very small.
“Anyone considering jumping off the bridge has been dissuaded by the presence of the stewards.
“The system has meant we can maintain the traditions of the event without seeing anyone injured.
“We want a carnival atmosphere across the city centre.”
Aubrey Bell, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s area manager for Oxfordshire, said: “We will be doing all we can to help to ensure that the May Morning event in Oxford is a safe and enjoyable experience.
“We would encourage people attending events throughout the day to drink responsibly so that ambulance resources remain available to respond to patients who genuinely need them.”
Supt Christian Bunt, the police commander for Oxford, said: “Thames Valley Police will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that public attending this year’s May Morning celebrations are in a safe environment.”
The crowd below the tower of Magdalen College last May
Celebrations will start at 6am with the choristers of Magdalen College singing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower.
It was composed in the 17th century by a Fellow of Magdalen and has been sung every year from the Great Tower on May Morning at this early hour as the sun comes up.
Magdalen Bridge will be open to pedestrians and closed to traffic from 3am until 9am.
There will also be special events and activities for May Morning across the city, including Morris Men dancing in Radcliffe Square, Catte Street and Broad Street and bars and restaurants opening for breakfasts.
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