A festive tradition in Tenby is taking place with a time-change to enable church-goers to see the light.

So that the congregation can avoid darkened streets as they make their way home from tonight's Midnight Mass, the town’s St Mary’s Church will now hold the service at 10.30pm.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s energy-saving street lighting switch-off means that a number of areas outside the walled town of Tenby are not illuminated between midnight and 5.30am.

“The time change means that our service on Christmas Eve will be completed by around 11.30pm, to enable people to get home before the street lights go off,” said the Rector, the Rev Andrew Davies. “I recently experienced walking home after midnight, and I must admit it was quite a shock to see how dark the streets were.

“But we are still calling the service Midnight Mass – I think the name has a particularly significant feel to it.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman pointed out that there is no street lighting blackout in the centre of Tenby, and that all street lights within the walled town remain on throughout the night.

He added: “It is county council policy to maintain street lighting in areas of high night-time pedestrian activity such as town centres.

Lights also remain on in other areas, which have been identified to have particular social or safety issues.”