THOUSANDS of people attended this year’s Purbeck Art Weeks Festival (PAW), which finished last Sunday.

Organisers say record sales took place at the festival’s Rollington Barn base, and people from all over the south came to Purbeck to sample the events on offer.

This year’s festival president was renowned sculptor Philip Jackson, who took a keen interest in local artists and the work of Purbeck’s art students.

Festival spokesman Charlotte Heath said: “Indeed around 500 young people have been involved in workshops with PAW artists and over 100 young musicians and dancers have also enjoyed workshops and performing at a range of venues across Purbeck.”

The festival, comprised of a host of special art events – which included many local artists opening up their homes and studios – started in spectacular style. Wareham Quay, which was transformed based on Venice’s bustling Rialto district, provided the venue for the opening ceremony.

Young Purbeck artist Sinead O’Neill, a regular at the festival, has just learned one of her paintings will hang as part of this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London.

Sinead entered her painting into an art competition run by the BBC’s One Show, and has been shortlisted with a dozen other artists out of 1,100 entrants.

She said: “I’m so excited, I can hardly believe it. Purbeck Art Weeks gave me the confidence to enter this competition. I’ve never done this sort of thing before, and without the experience of three years in PAW I would never have done it."