Lee John was devastated when his lifelong friend lost his battle with bowel cancer at the age of 44.

Determined to keep his memory alive, Lee will run the Bristol Half Marathon on September 15 to raise money for Bowel & Cancer Research.

I’ve run the Bristol half six or seven times before but this time I decided to do it for something close to my heart – and to get the word out about how bad bowel cancer can be.

said Lee, 44, from Weston-super-Mare.

He and Jase Gazey grew up together in Doncaster and remained the best of friends when they left school and followed different careers.

They had just come back from sharing a family holiday together last August when Jase was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer.

He had several bouts of chemotherapy but passed away in July this year after a  courageous battle, leaving behind his lovely wife Danni and two sons, aged just nine and 13.

“It was so out of the blue,” said Lee, who is married with two children aged 10 and 12.

Jase was such an active man and had everything to live for.  His whole family are devastated. His children are too young to lose their dad.

“For this to happen to someone so young needs to stop and research into this will help towards eliminating this disease permanently.”

Lee, who works for the Royal Navy in Yeovil, read the eulogy at Jase’s funeral and, with five other friends, carried the casket to the service.

“We all wore Liverpool FC shirts – even the Manchester United fans – because Jase was such a big fan. That would definitely have made him smile,” he said.

Chief Executive of Bowel & Cancer Research Deborah Gilbert thanked Lee for his support. “It is tragic to hear that Jase Gazey lost his life at such a young age.

Our aim is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer in future and we can only do that with the help of our fantastic fundraisers,” she said.

Anyone who wants to support Lee can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leejohn123