STREETLIGHTS will be staying on until dawn on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for Harwich residents.

Essex County Council has announced the lighting around the town will be on until the early hours on both days so residents have light on their walk home.

On a normal day the council’s lights turn off at 1am.

Betty Holbrook, 89, from Harwich, said she started contacting the council about five years ago asking for the lights to remain on after the New Year’s Eve firework display at Harwich Quay.

She said: “I asked if it could be done about five years ago and I recently asked at the latest Harwich Town Council meeting if anything had been done about it for this year’s display.

“It’s just so important for people walking home to get back safely as it is dangerous in the dark.

“It’s also important they have a great Christmas.”

Following Mrs Holbrook’s request, Essex County Council has agreed to keep the lights on this year.

She said the council has kept the lights on every year after the New Year’s Eve firework display since she started requesting for it to be carried out.

This year’s spectacular display, which is organised by Mrs Holbrook and other volunteers, will once again be held at Harwich Quay.

The display is free for residents to watch, but the organisers ask for donations to cover the £9,000 cost of the show.

Mrs Holbrook said: “This year it is going to be bigger and better than ever before.

“But we can’t run the event is the public and businesses don’t help with the costs.

“We could not run it without the help of Trinity House and the Harwich Haven Authority.

She added: “It’s going to be extra special this year, but I am keeping the reason why a secret.”

Trinity House has given permission for the organisers to use its pier as a firing base and the Harwich Haven Authority will allow the use of Ha’Penny Pier.

Fireworks will soar into the skies above Harwich at midnight.