THERE was a family feel as people of all ages discovered more about the Roma, gypsy and traveller way of life at an event in Dorchester.

The rain held off as crowds flocked to the town’s Borough Gardens to learn about life on the road and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment.

There were a range of traditional skills on display such as peg-making and willow-weaving while visitors to the gardens were also able to enjoy traditional gypsy music.

There was also plenty for youngsters to enjoy with storytelling and, new for this year’s event, livestock encounters.

The annual event was organised by the South West Dorset Multicultural Network with support from a range of organisations to mark Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

West Dorset District Council community development officer Emma Scott said: “The forecast was for rain all afternoon but it has held off and that has been a real bonus.

“We have got more things going on this year.

“The event has grown and we have got involvement from more gypsies and travellers as well as getting other people involved with the travelling community.”

Mrs Scott said one couple had even come from Wales to enjoy the event.

She said: “They were basket weavers who were tracing their family tree and found out they were descended from gypsies and they had got a lot of family in the Dorset area.

“So they contacted me and wanted to be part of the event.

“They were about to find out more about their family history.”

Mrs Scott said the livestock had proved a popular addition to the event while the chance to step on board a real gypsy caravan had also proved popular as it had in previous years.

There was also a chance to see old pictures depicting traveller life through the years and sample some gypsy recipes recreated by the Dorset Race Equality Council.

Mrs Scott said: “There are just so many people here who are so knowledgeable about gypsy history and culture so people can talk to them and find out a lot more about gypsies and travellers who have a history in Dorset.”