A KIND-HEARTED family from Rosneath are aiming to spread some festive goodwill this Christmas by opening their doors to an elderly person suffering from loneliness.

Jemma Willett and her husband Paul are offering a space at the dinner table on Christmas day for an elderly person who doesn’t have anyone to share the special occasion with.

After posting an open invitation on social media and appealing for information on how to get in contact with anyone in need, Jemma explained the motives behind her caring gesture.

She said: “We have been discussing it for a couple of years.

“It’s horrible to think that anyone is lonely, especially someone of that age. I have been there myself when it was just me and my daughter.

“After I suggested the idea on social media, a few other people have said they would like to do something similar as well. It’s just about getting the word out there as a lot of the elderly people would have no way of knowing about it.

“I think it would make someone’s day. Christmas is the loneliest season of the year and it’s important to be around people to celebrate it.”

Jemma said she had been inspired by a television advert for Bisto gravy, which promoted the Spare Chair Sunday initiative aimed at encouraging people to offer help and support to the elderly who are alone and isolated.

She added: “We don't want gifts or anything, just to see someone smile would do for us.

“There are times when people just don’t feel like eating. If someone else was there then they would probably eat a meal, but I have times like that myself when I don’t like to eat on my own. We just want to help.

“Knowing that someone else doesn’t have any family there, it does affect me.

“Everyone needs some laughter and joyfulness, especially at this time of year, and life is too short not to have that.”

Research has shown that up to 40 per cent of over 70s in the UK regularly skip meals due to loneliness.

Jemma said that she has yet to hear from anyone taking up her offer but hopes to be put in touch with someone local that would appreciate company and a lovely Christmas dinner.