A YOUNG man whose best friend passed away earlier this year at the age of 20 is running this weekend's York Marathon in his memory.

Josh Milner, from Norton, is taking part in the event to raise funds for Candlelighters.

The Yorkshire-based children's cancer charity was supported by his friend Harvey Pettit , who died in April after suffering a chest infection brought on by complications following a bone marrow transplant.

Josh said he had known Harvey since they started school together at Norton Primary.

The pair formed a band 'Stranger Than Fiction' with fellow school friend Adam Hymas while at sixth form gaining success playing both local gigs and festivals.

"Losing Harvey is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with," Josh said.

"He was and always will be the most inspirational person I knew and Harvey's death had a big impact on me and everyone who knew him."

Harvey, who also lived in Norton, successfully battled leukaemia as a child, however the disease returned in 2011.

The following year he was told that the leukaemia was resistant to the chemotherapy and the only option was a bone marrow transplant.

Despite a successful operation, infections started to reoccur, including Graft-versus-host disease, a common complication following a bone marrow transplant.

Josh, who is 20, said he and Adam had found out that Harvey had died at 4'o'clock in the morning - the day after they had been to see him for the final time.

"We had gone to the hospital as his dad, David, wasn't sure he was going to make it through the night then afterwards we went home together to talk about him when the call came through," he added.

"It took some time to sink in and it sounds strange but we were telling jokes about each other and Harvey, but he was the sort of person who wouldn't want you to be sad."

Josh said it has always been one of his ambitions to take part in a marathon and had asked Harvey which charity he should support.

"Harvey was a big supporter of Candlelighters and after he died I spoke to his parents who thought it was a great idea to raise money through the marathon," he added.

"Both they and Harvey are alway been keen to raise awareness of the charity and what he went through to help others."

Josh, who is studying acting and physical theatre, in Southend on Sea, said he had been running four or five times a week for around 20 miles.

"Training has been harder than I expected but this is something I have to do for myself and for Harvey," he added.

"On the day I will be wearing a necklace Adam and me both got when Harvey passed away in his memory."

Josh said: "It is going to be a very emotional day but also time to think about Harvey and the happy times we spent together.

"He was such a soldier and a fighter. I think about Harvey every day and I want his memory to live on forever."

Anyone who would like to sponsor Josh can do so at www.justgiving.com/Josh-Milner