A Nativity scene with a difference is impressing passers by in a market town.

It has been installed in the grounds of the parish church of St Mary and St Helen in Neston town centre.

The town’s vicar, the Rev Alan Dawson, said the idea had been to create a scene in silhouette form that could light up in the evenings.

It emerged when a group of men from the parish gathered for a regular meeting to look at what maintenance works were required around the three Anglican churches in the town.

During one of the morning meetings, or possibly over lunch at a local hostelry which followed, the idea came about.

The Nativity scene in Neston

Added the vicar: “The principle was embraced and one of the team, Terry Abel, began to drive the project forward by creating the figures.

“Inspired techniques and many hours of work went into creating life size images for the scene, now present outside St Mary and St Helen’s Church on the north east corner.”

The illumination of the scene was planned to co-ordinate with Neston’s Christmas lights switch-on. The nativity is now lit up between 3.30pm and 10pm each day.

Related: Neston Christmas lights switch on in pictures

The Rev Dawson points out St Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 intending to help people in their worship.

The saint had been inspired by a visit he had made to the Holy Land where he had been shown Jesus’s traditional birthplace.

Of Neston’s nativity, he said: “We think it looks wonderful, so well done to all involved.”