Zeher Dardar is a 39-year-old Syrian refugee who fled conflict in his home country, saved his family from violent kidnappers in Egypt, and has resettled in Truro.

On Friday nights, Zeher works in Falmouth's Pants Waterside Cafe as a chef, an industry that he has two decades of experience in.

Back when he lived in Damascus, he owned a successful restaurant and his own house. He told the Packet that he was living his dream before the bombs started to fall.

Zeher fled with his wife and two children to Cairo. He never thought he would be there long, only expecting to stay for a few months until the situation in Syria had calmed down and he could go home.

After two years living in Cairo, volunteering with various charities and struggling for money, the family home in Damascus was destroyed in an explosion, and Zeher realised he would never be going back.

Despite having to adjust to a much bigger and busier city, Zeher did well in Cairo. He opened another restaurant and business was good.

But Egypt did not provide the safe family home that they needed. His young son was kidnapped by violent thugs, who then held a knife to Zeher's throat demanding money.

After the horrifying incident, he approached the United Nations and asked if they could help him house the family anywhere in the world as long as it was safe.

The family was accepted into the UN's refugee resettlement programme and told that a home for them had been found in Bristol. Zeher researched the city online and liked the look of it.

He said: "I thought 'maybe I'll come to Bristol', and I'll be able to start a business because it's a big city."

The family landed at Bristol airport and, not speaking a word of English between them, got into a waiting car. After an hour of driving they started to wonder what was taking so long.

He said, with a laugh, that when they were finally dropped off in Truro nearly four hours later, he realised he might not be living in the metropolitan hub he had imagined.

He enjoys living in Cornwall – his family is safe and the schools are good. He was even impressed by how well people drive in the county compared to the Middle East. But he is desperate to get his own business back up and running.

Zeher said: "When I first came here, in the first two months I was in the UK, I asked the job centre and the council if anyone would help me start my own business, because I don't need any benefits, I need work."

He hosts the successful Arabian night at Pants Waterside Cafe on Friday nights, but is looking for something more full-time.

He said: "I don't like to sit in my home and not work. I like to work every day. Some people help me translating and they're friendly: if I need help with shopping or going to the bank or something, I need that, but I don't need help for money."

Zeher has his level 2 food hygiene certificate, and is now looking for investors to get his own restaurant up and running.

He said: "I achieved my dream in Syria, to open my own business and buy my own house and have a family. Now my dream is gone, so I just want to build it again.

"When I need anything, I will try one time, two times, maybe 100 times, it's no problem for me."