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Naked dancing and wicker man burnings - it must be May Day

Beltain celebrations have been taking place across the south, with wicker men being burned in spectacular fashion.

At Butser Hill near Petersfield in Hampshire, a 30 foot effigy was burned as the sun set last night, to welcome in the season of renewal and fertility.

Across the south, morris dancers and maypole dancers are joining the celebrations.

At Westerham in Kent, they'll be 'Beating the Bounds', complete with dancing around a newly-instated maypole on the green.

Credit: Visit Westerham

Twitter has been alive with May Day messages, explaining the significance of the festival in the Pagan calendar. With some racier postings too!

Happy May Day everyone!

May Day celebrations across the South

Morris dancers perform in Oxford Credit: PA

May Day celebrations have been taking place across the south, even though the temperature still feels like March!

A record crowd of 25,000 turned out for the traditional celebrations in Oxford.

A choir sang at the top of Magdalen College tower, and many people stayed up all night to see in the morning.

Choristers sing every year at the top of Magdalen tower Credit: PA

There were signs up on Magdalen Bridge to prevent people jumping into the river, and organisers say the event has been a great success.

Meanwhile the ancient festival of Baltain has been celebrated across the region.

At Butser Hill in Hampshire, a giant wicker man was burnt as part of the annual celebrations, which take place to welcome in the Spring.


Watch our special feature on damning report into Southern Health

The Care Quality Commission has issued a damning report following an inspection of the way the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust looks after the people in its care.

The organisation has come under increased scrutiny following the revelation that there were failings in the way that it reported and investigated hundreds of unexpected deaths, particularly of people using its mental health and learning disability services.

The chief executive of the trust, Katrina Percy, has refused to step down, despite criticism about Southern Health's leadership.

You can watch our full special report on the Care Quality Commission's report into Southern Health NHS Trust below:


Southern Health's Chief Executive's response to critics

ITV Meridian spent the day trying to talk to the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust's Chief Executive, Katrina Percy, about the CQC's damning report into some of its care of people under its protection.

No interview was granted, but Katrina Percy did issue a statement about the health watchdog's findings. ITV Meridian presenters Fred Dinenage and Stacey Poole spoke to reporter Richard Slee.

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