Roger Bannister honoured for running mile in under four minutes in Westminster stone

Sir Roger Bannister receives Companion of Honour in 2017

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The then-medical student ran the distance in three minutes and 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track at Oxford University on May 6 1954. The timekeeper that day was Norris McWhirter who went on to create The Guinness Book Of Records with his twin brother, Ross. He went on to become a distinguished neurologist and his memorial ledger stone will be dedicated in Scientists’ Corner in the abbey “because Sir Roger always maintained that his achievements as a neurologist far outshone his time on the track”, a statement from the abbey said.

Sir Roger created his own training regime and investigated the mechanical aspects of running using his medical knowledge.

He died at the age of 88 in March 2018.

The stone will be alongside the graves of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Professor Stephen Hawking whose ashes were buried there in 2018.

Sir Roger’s friends, children and grandchildren will attend a short service led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle which will include prayers and readings.

The Reverend Charlotte Bannister-Parker said: “Today is an extraordinary honour for my mother Lady Bannister and all the family. 

“To have my father’s work, as a doctor and medical researcher recognised in the Abbey means so much to us all. 

“While his athletics career lasted 8 years, his medical one lasted over 60 and was equally ground-breaking. He was passionate and most proud of his work as a neurologist and work on the autonomic nervous system. 

“We are deeply grateful that my father’s lifetime achievements will be remembered in this magnificent, sacred space forever.”

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