We may be approaching the end of January but the festive season is still going strong in west Dorset 

The Christmas tree on the green at West Bay, which can be seen as you enter the resort, is still standing - and still lit up every evening.

The sight of the tree has caused a stir on social media, with residents wondering why it's still there.

One resident commented that 'it's a delight to still have some colour in West Bay' in the month of January - a time many traditionally regard as a bleak month offering little cheer.

The tree, erected every year by the West Bay Days committee, will remain until February 2 as a 'beacon of hope' for the community.

Although it used to be taken down by Twelfth Night, it was decided in 2021 during the pandemic that it should be kept up for longer.

The committee agreed it would remain in place until Candlemas Day (February 2), which was formerly the traditional day to take down Christmas decorations.

West Bay Days Chairman James Radcliffe said: "Basically the Christmas tree stays up until Candlemas, which is the original pre-Victorian Christmas period.

"The reason we started doing it was that Philip Ringer, a member of the committee, suggested we do it when Covid-19 first started to try and keep a bright light burning through West Bay."

The tree will be recycled with the help of Bridport Town Council after February 2.

The tree at West Bay traditionally plays a part in welcoming the festive season with the community gathering around the tree for a carol service and the much-anticipated switching on of the Christmas lights.

Starting with a service inside St John's Church, crowds moved outside to the green to celebrate the switch-on. Harbour House resident Sylvia Gardner turned on the Christmas tree's lights using a giant plunger.

Read more: Crowds brave cold for West Bay Christmas tree lights switch-on

The West Bay Days committee is a group of volunteers who raise money for local causes through events. Its events Pirate Day, West Bay Day and Bonfire by the Beach attract thousands of people to the bay each year, raising several thousands.

The tree switch-on also commemorated the donations from West Bay Days to several good causes totalling £13,500 - with recipients presented with cheques during the evening.