A DEVOTED dad is ready to take on a fundraising challenge in memory of his 14-month-old son.

Leisure centre manager Bobby McVitie has signed up for his first ever half marathon to raise money for a charity very close to his heart.

Brightest Star stepped in to help his family after son Bruce died following a tragic accident in his home two years ago.

Toddler Bruce was sitting round the table with his family, including his twin sister Bobbie, when he choked on an apple he was eating.

Dad Bobby, 31, originally from Greenock said: "It was a Sunday and we had finished our family dinner.

"Like we did every week, the kids had fruit for afters.

"Bruce was eating an apple when it got lodged at the front, it was fully blocked.

"It was the most horrible accident.

"There was nothing we could have done.

"Jackie is always so safety conscious - the apple had been peeled, cut and cored, everything you are supposed to do."

Following the tragic events of that day in March 2017, Bobby, his partner Jackie, 41, and their children Carla, 15, Conal, 12, Macy, four, and Bobbie, now three, needed help from Brightest Star.

The charity was set up by mum Arlene Smith following the death of her son Jack in December 2012, with the aim of helping other families who have lost a child.

So far Bobby and Jackie's family and friends have pledged £3,500 to the cause and nearly 20 people have signed up to take part in the Kilmacolm half-marathon in Bruce's name.

Bobby, who is the manager at Boglestone Community Centre in Port Glasgow, said: "The support from the charity started straight away, at the hospital.

"We were handed a memory box from Brightest Star.

"But after that they helped with counselling as well for all our family.

"Jackie and I have five children between us.

"They helped us all to get through it and to recover, if that is the right word.

"Unfortunately you only know about Brightest Star when the worst happens.

"Arlene set up the charity so her son Jack's name would live on.

"That is what I want to do - I never want Bruce to be forgotten."

Bobby, who is a past martial arts champion, is now in training for the half marathon in the Kilmacolm Running Festival on September 8, after he was challenged by his friend Jamie Derrick to a race.

It is run by his employers Inverclyde Leisure.

Centre manager Bobby added: "I can't thank Inverclyde Leisure enough for the support they have given us.

"They have been brilliant through all of this.

"I hope as many people as possible sign up to take part in the event itself."

As well as family and friends, local businesses are pledging their support, with the Greenock Tesco petrol station staff donating £200.

Bobby added: "I’d like to make it possible for this charity to help as many people as possible who find themselves in the same position as ourselves."

To support Team Bruce visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/robert-mcvitie

And to sign up for the Kilmacolm event, which includes a half marathon, a 10k, an adult 3k and a kids 3k visit www.entrycentral.com/kilmacolmraces