SIR Roger Bannister yesterday celebrated the 61st anniversary of the day he broke the four-minute mile barrier in Oxford.

He made sporting history on Thursday, May 6, 1954 at the Iffley Road athletics track which now bears his name.

Sir Roger, now 86, was the first man to run a sub-four minute mile, managing it in three minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Now the silver stopwatch that marked the historic moment is being sold at auction at Sotheby’s in London on May 18.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail Sir Roger said: “I was reminded of the date by my dear wife at breakfast.

“I’m extremely happy. I have been looking through old photographs of the race.

“I had lovely telephone calls from my family and other people from New York and Switzerland.”

He said he will be having dinner at Exeter College, where he studied medicine in 1946, on Sunday with his daughter Charlotte Bannister-Parker, the college’s catechist, to mark the occasion.

The North Oxford resident said he also spent the day thinking of his former pacemaker Sir Christopher Chataway, who died of cancer in January last year aged 82.

The 82-year-old died of cancer in January last year.

Along with Chris Brasher, who died in 2002, he was one of Sir Roger’s pacemakers when he broke the record.

Sir Roger said: “We would always have a reunion with our wives and meet up on the anniversary.

“That’s what it used to be. Unfortunately I’m alone now.”

It also marks a year since Sir Roger revealed to the Oxford Mail that he has Parkinson’s Disease.

Sir Roger, himself an acclaimed neurologist who has written about the disease, now uses a wheelchair at public events.

Despite this, he said: “My health is holding up terribly well and I have an active life.”