Coroner warns of dangers of 'Obby 'Osses after mother died in parade

Coroner warns Government of dangers of 200-year-old ‘Obby ‘Osses after nurse mother-of-two, 34, died when she was hit by traditional wooden festival costume in Cornish May Day parade

  • Coroner will call for large events to have tighter rules on how they are organised
  • Mr Cox was ‘surprisedlarge events can still have no single organiser
  • Inquest heard how a nurse, 34, was hit on the head by a wooden horse costume
  • Laura Smallwood died three days later after being hit by one of two Obby Osses
  • The Padstow May Day parade attracts 20,000 attendees but has no single, central organiser
  • A coroner will call for tighter rules around large events after a nurse was killed by a traditional wood horse costume during a May Day parade.

    Andrew Cox, the senior coroner for Cornwall, will report to the Government his concerns about events not being compelled to have an organiser and also the police’s lack of powers to stop them.

    The coroner’s preventing future deaths report will come after paediatric nurse Laura Smallwood, 34, was hit in the neck by a festival costume known as an Obby Oss in Padstow, north Cornwall on May 1 nel 2019.

    She died in hospital three days after being struck by the Obby Oss, a large wooden circle weighing more than 50lb worn by a masked male dancer.

    The Padstow May Day parade, an event that dates back to the 16th century and attracts 20,000 partecipanti, has featured two Obby Osses for over 200 years which Mr Cox said posed a risk to the public.

    ‘I find it frankly surprising that for an event of this size there is still no single Event Organiser who is involved with the LSAG, police and other external agencies,’ Egli ha detto.

    Laura Smallwood, 34, nella foto, was hit in the neck by a festival costume known as an Obby Oss. An inquest heard she felt dizzy and grabbed a friend's arm before she collapsed

    Laura Smallwood, 34, nella foto, was hit in the neck by a festival costume known as an Obby Oss. An inquest heard she felt dizzy and grabbed a friend’s arm before she collapsed

    Obby Oss, nella foto sopra, is a large wooden circle weighing more than 50lb worn by a masked male dancer. The Padstow May Day festival is one of the biggest events in Padstow's calendar as thousands flock to the small town in Cornwall

    Obby Oss, nella foto sopra, is a large wooden circle weighing more than 50lb worn by a masked male dancer. The Padstow May Day festival is one of the biggest events in Padstow’s calendar as thousands flock to the small town in Cornwall

    The incident took place during the 2019 May Day parade in the north Cornwall town, which has hosted such celebrations since as far back as the 16th Century. Nella foto: An Obby Oss at the Padstow Traditional May Day Festival

    The incident took place during the 2019 May Day parade in the north Cornwall town, which has hosted such celebrations since as far back as the 16th Century. Nella foto: An Obby Oss at the Padstow Traditional May Day Festival








    ‘The packed nature of the streets, the fact people have inevitably been drinking alcohol and will not be paying full attention to what is happening around them, means the risk of inadvertent, unintended contact between the Oss and a member of the public is obvious,’ Egli ha detto.

    Each Oss had its own separate organising committee for its parade through the Cornish town, l'inchiesta ascoltata.

    Mr Cox said communication between the two committes and other agencies involved in the parade up until 2018 was ‘limited and far from ideal’.

    ‘I have heard that up to 20,000 people attend the event and it cannot be right, secondo me, to have an event of that size with, per esempio, no arrangements in place for reuniting lost children with their parents or a community first responder being able to gain access to an emergency because of a padlocked gate,’ Egli ha detto.

    ‘It is only fair to note that it was a situation that had begun to improve even before these events, and it is reassuring to hear there has been a recognition of the need to move with the times and to do more.

    ‘I find it frankly surprising for an event of this size there is still no single event organiser who is involved with the local safety advisory group, the police and other external agencies.

    Laura Smallwood (nella foto), 34, died in hospital three days after she was struck in the back of the head by the wooden framed horse - known as an 'Obby 'Oss' - un'indagine ascoltata

    Laura Smallwood (nella foto), 34, died in hospital three days after she was struck in the back of the head by the wooden framed horseknown as an ‘Obby ‘Oss’ – un'indagine ascoltata

    Coroner Andrew Cox, has given his verdict after holding an inquest into the death of Mrs Smallwood (nella foto). He will report to the government that the organisation of such events should be tighter

    Coroner Andrew Cox, has given his verdict after holding an inquest into the death of Mrs Smallwood (nella foto). He will report to the government that the organisation of such events should be tighter








    ‘Sensible planning and risk reduction is inevitably compromised as a consequence.

    ‘I have no wish to be Job’s comforter or to be the manifestation of a nanny state.

    ‘I want May Day to continue, and I want it to flourish, yet my professional colleagues have been called on to deal with disasters regularly over the past few years.

    ‘You only have to think of Manchester Arena, Torre Grenfell, London Bridge or the Shoreham plane crash.

    What is the ‘Obby ‘Oss Day celebration?

    ‘Obby ‘Oss Day is the biggest day in Padstow’s calendar.

    Thousands of people cram into the little town to celebrate the festival every May Day.

    The origins of the Obby Oss are numerous.

    Some say the celebration has its roots in pagan times, others that it’s a rain maker, a fertility symbol, a deterrent to a possible landing by the French some centuries ago or perhaps a welcome to the summer.

    Locals spend the night decorating the town’s streets with flags, flowers and greenery complete with a maypole.

    La prossima mattina, two ‘osses’, one red and one blue emerge from their stables.

    The ‘osses’, swirling and dancing proceed through Padstow’s streets taunted by a Teazer, who leads the dance with theatrical movements.

    As the procession moves around the town, dancers perform a traditional gyrating dance to the sound of musicians and drummers.

    fonte: Visit Cornwall

    Annuncio pubblicitario

    ‘How would we deal with a fire in a hotel, care or restaurant if there were 20,000 people in the centre of Padstow?’

    ‘Terrible things happen to innocent people at the most unexpected of times and I would be failing in my duties were I not to raise my concerns here.

    The inquest heard Mrs Smallwood, a paediatric nurse, was ‘knocked outwhen the Obby Oss struck her as it was paraded through the streets of the town in the annual festival.

    A witness told the inquest they believe Kevin Constance, a 66-year-old who was inside the Obby Oss at the time, had slipped and the wooden structure had struck Mrs Smallwood in the back of the head.

    The inquest heard that shortly after, Mrs Smallwood felt dizzy and grabbed a friend’s arm. Her face had begun to droop before she collapsed.

    Coroner Mr Cox heard that Laura may have suffered a ‘minor incidentaround ten days before the Obby Oss collision, which had likely caused some damage to her arteries.

    The inquest was also told that Mrs Smallwood had earlier intervened in a row between a young couple and suffered a ‘push, slap or wallopto the face from a woman .

    The hearing was told that scuffle left her with a mark on her face but she had ‘laughedit off.

    But Dr Jeffery said: ‘The Obby Oss worsened the damage precipitating her (Mrs Smallwood’s) collapse.

    Police sergeant Susan Honeywill told the inquest it would be helpful if there was more legislation in place to ensure safety at this type of event.

    She said historically there was ‘no one person or organisation that was the event’s organiser or point of contact for the police’ and that it made it difficult to plan for the event.

    Police contingency and events organiser Amanda Hannon said there was a lack of clarity around the jurisdiction of each agency involved in the planning for MayDay and added ‘the police do not have lawful authority currently to grant or deny permission for a particular event to take place’.

    The hearing was told that up to 20,000 people usually attend the May Day parade and it is considered a ‘low risk’ evento.