Cornwall

Padstow Obby Oss festival: Laura Smallwood dies in hospital

MCA helicopter Image copyright Padstow Coastguard
Image caption Laura Smallwood was airlifted to hospital in Plymouth after being found unresponsive in the street in Padstow on Wednesday evening

A woman who was injured during a May Day festival has died in hospital.

Laura Smallwood, 34, collapsed with a neck injury during the annual Obby Oss celebrations in Padstow, Cornwall, on Wednesday and died on Saturday morning.

Police have appealed for witnesses and said officers were "following a number of lines of inquiry", including reports she may have been hit by the Blue Ribbon Oss or may have been assaulted.

The family has been informed and has asked for privacy.

Det Insp Paul Norlund said: "Our thoughts and sympathies are with Laura's family at this very sad time.

"We would like to hear from any witnesses and anyone with information, particularly anyone with any relevant mobile phone or camera footage taken around the event."

Image caption Police have examined and returned the blue oss

The exact origins of the centuries-old spring tradition is unknown, but it is thought it could be connected with the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane.

During the course of the May Day celebrations, the two oss costumes - red and blue - are worn by a number of different people and are paraded through the town with dancers, drums and accordions.

The Blue Ribbon Oss has been examined by police and returned.

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