AS he was officially awarded one of the Commonwealth's most prestigious honours Sir Roger Bannister spoke of his pride at his achievements on the running track and in the field of medicine.

The first man to run a mile in less than four minutes was invested into the Order of the Companions of Honour by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday.

The 87-year-old's honour was announced in the New Year's Honours List at the end of December and follows a knighthood and a CBE.

Sir Roger, who was accompanied by his children and his wife Lady Moyra to the palace, said: "Of course this is a very proud day because this is an order of honour which is only available to a small number of people.

"I retired from sport when I was 25 and I was by then qualifying as a doctor.

"I decided I was going to dedicate my life to medicine and neurology, that has been my life although everybody thinks of me as a four-minute miler."

Sir Roger was made a Companion of Honour for his services to sport, including his time as chairman of the Sports Council – now called Sport England.

There are just 53 other living people who are members of the order.

The North Oxford resident ran into the history books in front of a crowd of 3,000 at Iffley Road athletics track on May 6, 1954 by becoming the first person to run one mile in less than four minutes.

He enjoyed a successful career as a neurologist and his knighthood in 1975 was awarded for his services to medicine.

Sir Roger said the Duke of Cambridge was very interested in his medical career when he spoke to him at the ceremony.

His daughter Charlotte said: "It was a fantastic day, it was such a privilege and it was so special.

"He enjoyed seeing the other people getting their honours enormously.

"He is passionately interested in everybody.

"Afterwards we had a lunch together with close friends and family in The Athenaeum Hotel to celebrate my mother becoming the companion of the Companion of Honour."

After his time at the Sports Council Sir Roger was master of Pembroke College between 1985 and 1993.

The Order of the Companions of Honour recognises people who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government over a long period of time.

Other members include Dame Maggie Smith, Lord Coe, Sir John Major and Professor Stephen Hawking.