A kind-hearted man living in mid Suffolk is opening his home to anyone who may be struggling with loneliness for dinner on Christmas Day.

Rod Tallowin, 68, is opening his home for a free vegan feast in Debenham, near Stowmarket, for people on their own after losing his wife to cancer three years ago.

The menu includes mulled wine, starters such as sweet potato and roast garlic soup, and mains including butternut squash, preserved lemon, apricot and chickpea tagine, along with roast potatoes and sprouts.

Dessert will include Christmas pudding, mocha cheesecake with no cheese, apple strudel, mince pies, and panettone.

Mr Tallowin said: "I have been dealing with the loss of my wife - Penny Parks, who was an internationally-renowned expert in the field of childhood abuse - and I was struggling with it.

"Somebody had told me about Lemn Sissay's Christmas dinner project and charity for youngsters coming out of foster care, and I thought maybe I could do something like that.

"I used to think if someone was lonely they could just go out and do something, but my own experience has not been that easy.

Stowmarket Mercury: Mr Tallowin lost his wife to cancer three years agoMr Tallowin lost his wife to cancer three years ago (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"Many people spend their evenings in hopeless despair and you do not want to burden others with it, so you say you're fine when you're feeling desperate inside.

"I wanted to create a community and invite anyone who is in the same situation as me, so everyone is in the same boat.

"I think it's about opening your heart and getting out there, as the world will not come to you, to get the flow of connection going.

"I have lost my wife, but there is hope after death, and I hope to share that with others this Christmas."

The Christmas Day event will start from 10.30am,  with lunch served around 1pm and an expected finish time of 8pm.

Stowmarket Mercury: I wanted to invite anyone in the same situation as me.I wanted to invite anyone in the same situation as me. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Mr Tallowin also says although the event is free, you can bring anything to contribute such as "wine, song, laugher" or an instruments.

To book, visit www.mountpleasantretreats.co.uk or by calling 01728 861469.

Transport may be able to be arranged for anyone who may have difficulty getting there.