May ball's abridged version

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The Independent Online
A STUDENT being carried over Magdalen Bridge in Oxford yesterday after the traditional May Day gathering to hear the choir sing from the top of Magdalen College tower, writes Linus Gregoriadis.

Police concerned about the strong currents in the River Cherwell had earlier shut the bridge to stop inebriated students jumping in, a May Day pastime that has also become a matter of concern to local authorities and welfare officers.

The heavy police presence failed to discourage a motley assortment of bedraggled ball-goers, bemused tourists and early rising locals from assembling before first light.

There were fears that some would try to force the police cordon but only one dinner-jacketed student toyed briefly with the idea of a dash through the lines until one of his group shouted: "Who wants to jump in the river, anyway. Let's go to the pub."

Photograph: Tom Pilston