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May blossoms

Oxford Mail: May blossoms May blossoms

These were the days when the focus was on fun, not on the antics of drunken students stupidly throwing themselves off Magdalen Bridge.

In fact, it was a May Morning in Oxford when students went up rather than down.

Instead of plunging into the River Cherwell, some climbed scaffolding around Magdalen College to advertise the University rag magazine – and received cheers from the huge crowds below.

This was the scene in 1974 when nearly 10,000 people, many decked in jaunty hats, floppy brims, flowers and ribbons, thronged Magdalen Bridge for the traditional May Day celebrations.

The Oxford Mail reported: “At the stroke of 6am, everyone fell silent like embryo Cinderellas, listening to the delicate music of the choir at the top of the tower, then erupted in cheers as bells pealed out.

“The crowd made its way up The High, led by a Highland piper setting a brisk pace.

“The old traditions were kept up with morris dancing outside the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library and St John’s College.

“Four ladies armed with a paint-stained stepladder took the prize for initiative – they had a grandstand view of the dancing – while the rest of us craned our necks.

“The leaps in the air, stick banging and handkerchief waving soon gave way to hunger and cold – hot dogs were available to everyone.”

Many young people had their faces painted, and one young man brightened the early morning by handing out bunches of daffodils, cherry blossom and bluebells.

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