A TOUGH grandfather is set to complete his second gruelling marathon almost two years after his beloved five-year-old grandson lost his battle against cancer.

Little Braintree boy Jacob Jones, who was "always smiling", captured the hearts of many throughout his three year fight against devastating neuroblastoma.

Supporters from across the country and many from within the Braintree community helped to raise more than £100,000 to fund specialist treatment in America.

His family had hoped the clinical trial, held in New York, would prove the key to beating back the disease.

But after chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, the youngster relapsed in July 2017 and his relatives were told he was no longer eligible for the treatment.

He died in December that year.

His grandfather Vic Bojan, 69, used to look after Jacob with his father Adam every weekend.

This year he raised £4,500 in his memory for Children with Cancer UK by running the London Marathon in seven hours and three minutes.

He hopes to shave half an hour off that time when he takes part in the Chelmsford Marathon on Sunday.

"Chelmsford is my home town and I have lived here for 45 years," he said.

"When Jacob wasn't in hospital - he spent over three years going to Great Ormond Street - he lived with us at the weekends with his dad.

"He was born in Braintree and he just seemed to warm the hearts of the people there.

"He was the mascot at Braintree Town football club at least twice, there is a picture of him in the clubhouse.

"They have Jacob's bench at his school - John Ray Infant School.

"They created a memorial spot for him with a plaque.

"At Marks Hall garden he has his own tree and bench.

"We did our best within limited means to preserve his legacy.

"I am surprised I haven't started crying, it is almost two years since we lost him and you just never get over it."

The hardy grandfather pulled on a pair of running shoes for the very first time in July last year, but has already clocked up more than 850 miles.

Through fundraising and remembering Jacob, Mr Bojan has been introduced to similar stories of people suffering with cancer.

When he takes part in the run this weekend, he won't just be remembering his much-loved grandson.

"For each of the 26 miles I have a different name on my back, most no longer with us and many children," he said.

"I haven't found the running easy, but I have built up to each run.

"Thinking about these people motivates you to get across that finish."

Mr Bojan is eternally grateful to the people from across the country who helped to raise money for Jacob's treatment.

"When you have been touched by something like this there isn't a day goes by that you don't think about it," he said.

"I always think about him.

"Despite all the treatment, everything he went through, he was known for his smiles.

"You can say the same about so many children going through this, but it was quite amazing to see.

"The cancer came back a second time and he wouldn't have benefitted from the treatment.

"There was a massive effort involved in fundraising for this, people were running their own marathons - one person ran 102 miles non-stop from Chipping North to Bath.

"He set off at midday and got there 26 hours later at 2am.

"Somebody in South Wales did SAS style training where you have a weight on your back and walk a long distance.

"The support was incredible."

Vic is already signed up for next year's London Marathon.

To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/VicBojan