Oxford May Day: Thousands descend on Magdalen Bridge

Magdalen Bridge on May Day 2015
Image caption About 5,000 people gathered on and around Magdalen Bridge

Crowds have descended on the centre of Oxford for the annual May Day celebrations.

The event saw about 5,000 people gather on and around Magdalen Bridge to celebrate the traditional spring festival.

The bridge was open to pedestrians but closed to traffic from 03:00 BST.

In past years revellers have been injured jumping into the river. The city council, police and ambulance called for "responsible" celebrations.

Peter McQuitty, of Oxford City Council, said: "May Morning is a popular traditional celebration and over the last few years we've provided a safe environment in which people can enjoy this event.

"It is always dangerous to enter 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."

Image caption Crowds enjoyed dancing, singing and revelry around the city
Image caption Many wore green to celebrate May morning and the arrival of Spring

Each year Hymnus Eucharisticus is sung by 16 college choristers from the top of Magdalen College tower.

The hymn was composed in the 17th Century by a fellow of Magdalen and has been sung every year as the sun rises on the first morning of May.

Bells then ring out over the city for about 20 minutes.

Mark Blandford-Baker, home bursar of Magdalen College, said: "I was struck this morning by just how beautiful and timeless this event is - there's a lot of detailed planning that goes into it - it has to go just right."

Roads in the city centre were closed for the celebrations until about 09:00 BST.

Image caption In the past, revellers have been hurt jumping from Magdalen Bridge during the celebrations

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