A CELEBRATION of the rich history of Gypsy, Roma and travelling people is being held in Dorchester.

Visitors and residents are being invited to come and find out more about the lives of the travelling community at an outdoor event at the Borough Gardens on Friday, May 30.

The free event runs from noon to 4pm and includes a range of activities for all ages as well as displays and information.

Central attractions at the event will be two traditional Gypsy caravans that people can explore to get a close up look at what life would be like on the open road.

There will also be a chance for visitors to the event to experience a range of traditional skills including peg making, bender building, flower making and basket weaving.

People will also be able to view a host of photos on display capturing the lives of travelling people and read more information about the culture.

For children there will be a chance to pet newly-hatched bantam hens or enjoy a free horse and cart ride around the gardens.

The day will also feature traditional music and Gypsy story telling.

The celebration event is being coordinated by the South West Dorset Multicultural Network in partnership with other organisations.

It has also been supported by Dorchester Town Council, which has allowed the event to be held in the Borough Gardens and provided a range of resources.

Community development officer for West Dorset District Council Emma Scott said: “Gypsy, Roma and travellers are the largest ethnic minority community in the European Union with over 12million people.

“In the UK, they are recognised ethnic minority communities and number 300,000.

“They are also the most marginalised and continue to suffer extreme levels of prejudice and discrimination.

“Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month was started in 2008, to highlight and help raise awareness of these communities and their valuable contributions to our society and to offset the negative stereotyping and prejudices that have led to hate crime, bullying and physical violence towards people identified as belonging to this community.”