When Andy Godden died of bowel cancer at the age of 32, his friends and family were devastated.

We've grown to know Andy and his mother Diana very well. When Andy was diagnosed with bowel cancer he contacted us to fundraise for the charity through skydiving with his mother and girlfriend and even appeared in our BBC Lifeline film.

Now on September 9, five of his closest friends will take part in the Great North Run, determined to keep his memory alive.

Calling themselves ‘The Runs’, they have also pledged to raise money for us, Andy's 'favourite charity'.

Andy, from Toxteth in Liverpool, was diagnosed in 2016 and died in June this year surrounded by those he loved.

“He was absolutely incredible throughout his treatment - stoical, generous, funny and never sorry for himself,” said his friend Thomas Loughlin, 31.  

“He was a great person - the consummate gentleman, and always there for you. He was the glue that held everyone together.

“He wasn’t going to get married but still wanted his own stag do. A few weeks before he passed we were able to take him out around Manchester in true stag style, and whilst he wasn’t drinking, he had an incredible time. His mates all suffered the hangovers for him.

By doing a half-marathon we want to raise as much money as possible to help people like Andy deal with the disease and prevent others having to deal with it at all.

They chose the name ‘The Runs’ because it’s one of the first signs of bowel cancer.

Those closest to Andy have taken up the challenge.

Other members of ‘The Runs’ are Andy’s partner of six years Jess Lunt, 30, Elen Barfield, 30, Zoe Thirsk, 31, and Megan Key, 31.

Most were at university with Andy in Liverpool. All are united in their love of the stage and formed a musical theatre company called What We Did Next.

“I met Andy in a musical called Batboy,” said Tom, who lives in Liverpool and works for the BBC. “He was a cracking Sheriff and I found him so easy to hang out with from day one.  I’ll always remember the time he forgot to put on his cowboy boots and walked out on stage for his first scene in his socks. It makes me laugh to this day.”

When Andy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he didn’t sit around and mope. He travelled the world and went to see as many musicals as he could with his girlfriend Jess. 

He had hoped to be at the start and end of the Great North Run in Newcastle on September 9 to cheer his friends along.

We didn’t expect him to go so soon, I thought we had more time. It will probably be a bit of an emotional finish.

Our Chief Executive Deborah Gilbert thanked ‘The Runs’ for their support. “Andy Godden was truly inspirational and it’s tragic that this terrible disease should have claimed his life so soon. Our aim is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer in future and we can only do that with the support of our wonderful fundraisers”.

Anyone who wants to support The Runs can do so via the button below:

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