A CELEBRATION of sisterhood was held in Dorchester to commemorate International Women's Day.

WAND, the Women's Action Network Dorset, held its annual Dorset Women's Day event at the Dorford Centre in the county town today.

The event, that was open to all, old, young, male and female, showcased craft stalls, activities and workshops in an 'empowering celebration.'

WAND raises money for the women's refuge and each year holds its Reclaim the Night march in Dorchester.

Among the activities that visitors enjoyed were workshops in jewellery making, learning about the ins and outs of book publishing, flash fiction, creative writing, singing, knitting and cookery.

The Rummage Room was very popular with bargain hunters - people had donated lots of clothes and jewellery that WAND then sold to raise money.

More than 400 people turned up to the day which is designed to celebrate women and about giving women a bit of 'girl time.'

WAND patron Tracey West opened the event and read extracts from her forthcoming book - The Poetry of Divorce at the day.

She said the day was about empowerment. She said: “It's for women to celebrate the joy of sisterhood.”

She added: “It's just lovely”

She urged people to get involved and come and see for themselves what the voluntary group does.

Chairman of WAND Toni McKee said there were several things WAND were involved with there was the social side- she said that people in rural communities could feel isolated and it helped women get in touch with others to give them social support, there was the supporting role WAND undertook in helping the women's refuge and through Reclaim the Night which raises awareness of issues including domestic violence and the networking side where businesses and stall holders could get together.

She said: “We are trying to support women locally at all levels.”

The women said the event wasn't in any way against men, in fact they said they had seen an increase in fathers bringing their daughters to the event, and many men had been involved and enjoyed the day, but that it was purely about having 'one day just for women.'

Mrs West's husband Simon said any suggestion that it was anti-men in any way was 'nonsense.'

He said: “I think it's absolutely wonderful. It's a celebration of women's abilities.”

Mrs McKee said it had been a good day and well attended, she said she looked forward to the  event every year.

She said: “I would like to thank everyone who came along and took part and helped out, especially the core group and the caterers.”

She added: “I can't emphasise enough, this whole event is the hard work of between six to ten people.”

If you would like to learn more about WAND then visit www.wandwomen.org.uk.