When Liam Cawtheray runs the London Marathon on April 26, his Uncle Andy will be his inspiration.

For Andy Hallas was a huge part of Liam’s life and he and his family were devastated when he succumbed to bowel cancer after a hard battle in 2016 at the age of 58.

“Andy and his wife Joanne were best friends with my mum and dad, resulting in both families becoming as one,” said Liam.

“Uncle Andy and his wife Joanne had two daughters, Kayleigh and Bethany and my parents had three sons: me, Lewis and Harvey. We did everything together - holidays, Christmas, birthdays, weekends, staying and eating at each others’ homes etc.

Andy had a presence about him not many people possess - he would walk into a room and the whole place would light up.

"When we were growing up he would take us over the fields to play football and cricket, as well as on long walks and make up incredible stories along the way to keep all five of us entertained.

“When our family moved to Sudbury in Suffolk from Huddersfield, the distance didn’t make any difference. We still saw lots of each other and spent many weekends and all holidays together."

"After Joanne’s diagnosis from cervical cancer we pulled together as friends, parents, sisters and brothers, supporting each other. After Jo’s sad passing, we still all holidayed together with this huge void of one of our parents missing!

“With great sorrow, we had to again face this huge and overwhelming sense of loss after Andy too lost his life to this dreadful disease. So yet again, and now as a man and the oldest of the five children, I want to run this race to honour our much loved uncle, father, and friend.

“Unfortunately I had to pull out of the marathon last year due to injury, so this year I am doing it with extra determination.

Andy really was like a father figure to us all. He was the most charismatic, fun, amazing, all-round brilliant guy and I can’t express in words how much we all miss him.

The London marathon will be Liam’s first full marathon. He has done a few 10k and half marathon events, but April 26 will be special for the 31-year-old butcher from Stratford Hall Farm in Colchester.

“I hope I’ll be doing Uncle Andy proud and that he’ll be smiling down when I cross the finish line and raise a beer to celebrate his life. He used to call me his best mate, which I’ll never forget.”

He is also dedicating his run to his Uncle Kevin and Auntie Jo (Andy’s wife) who have both passed from cancer, and to his stepdad John who is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

A spokesperson for Bowel & Cancer Reseach thanked Liam for his support. “We’re sorry to hear that three people close to him have lost their lives to this terrible disease. Our mission is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer in future and we can only do that with the help of our phenomenal fundraisers,” she said.

Anyone who wants to support Liam can do so at https://www.bowelcancerresearch.org/fundraisers/liam-cawtherays-fundraising-page