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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Victoria Johns

EastEnders star Jake Wood devastated as he's forced to pull out of London Marathon

EastEnders star Jake Wood has issued a sad announcement about his health just hours before he was due to compete in the London Marathon.

The actor, 50, who played Max Branning in the soap, was due to take part in the race today in memory of his late co-star Barbara Windsor.

However, in a video shared on Instagram, he explained he was too ill to compete.

Filming himself, wearing a grey hoodie, Jake said: " "Unfortunately, I'll be unable to run the London Marathon [on] Sunday due to medical advice.

"I've got a very bad chest infection, I've had it for the last couple of weeks. I've been told in no uncertain terms to not run."

EastEnders star Jake Wood has issued a sad announcement about his health (@mrjakewood/Instagram)
He said he was "gutted" to miss the race (@mrjakewood/Instagram)

He added: "I'm gutted to not be running it with all my fellow Babs' Army, raising money for Alzheimer's Research UK.

"I'll be really sad to not be with them on the day."

Barbara's widow Scott Mitchell sent his pal his support, replying "Jake you have been a warrior all through training!

"We are so sorry to lose you from the team!! Your health comes first but just gutted for you! Thanks for all you have done this far! Love you mate!"

Jake had been training with Babs' Army in memory of Barbara Windsor (@mrjakewood/Instagram)

Ian Beale actor Adam Woodyatt added: "Gutted for you Bud. Tough decision but the right one."

While Jo Joyner, who played Max Branning's wife Tanya Branning, said: "Gutted for you hun, I know how hard you’ve all worked for it. But best you get well again xx."

Jake was due to run in the marathon as part of Babs' Army in memory of soap icon Barbara, who died in December 2020 following a battle with Alzheimer's.

The actress' widower Scott and other EastEnders stars including Lacey Turner, Natalie Cassidy and Adam Woodyatt have been posting their training runs together on Instagram.

Ahead of the race, Jake explained the actors adored Barbara and saw the marathon as a fitting tribute.

He told us: “We all knew Barbara and loved her. She was an amazing person. It’s an honour to be doing this in her memory.

She ruled the roost on set but was just so gracious and welcoming with it.

“She really put her arm around me and gave me advice and guidance. She was someone that you always knew was there.”

Barbara died on 10 December 2020, aged 83. The next episode of EastEnders, broadcast on 11 December 2020, was dedicated to her memory.

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