PAT Harris, who has died aged 81, was a larger than life character who inspired family, friends and colleagues.

Mrs Harris spent time in nursing and the police force, but her legacy was arguably keenest felt at Oxford University's Somerville College.

She spent 11 years as the college's lodge porter and became close to students and staff, with former student Aaron Maniam initiating the Pat Harris Spirit of Somerville Award, celebrating depth of character and kindness, in her memory.

Pat Harris was born in Henley on May 11, 1937, to parents Alfred and Francis.

She had one older brother, Donald, and attended Henley Secondary Modern School, before switching to a pre-nursing course at Kendrick School in Reading for her final year .

As a youngster, Pat was a keen javelin thrower, while she played hockey into her 50s, at one point reaching county level.

In 1959, she joined the police and spent nine years stationed across the county, in Woodstock, Banbury and Witney.

Mrs Harris packed plenty into her nine years in the force and was one of the officers to line Sir Winston Churchill's funeral route to Bladon, West Oxfordshire, in 1965.

During this time she met her husband, Brian and their only child, Keron, was born in 1967.

After leaving the police, she held several odd-jobs before becoming the first female on-the-road sales representative for fuel supplier Western Fuel.

Mrs Harris moved to Kidlington and her next role was a nursing auxiliary on the John Radcliffe Hospital's short stay ward.

Her and Brian divorced in the early 1980s, but she remained close to Keren and the pair were both telephonists at BT.

In 1997, Mrs Harris became Somerville lodge porter, making many friends and joining student activities.

This was sometimes to her cost and she once broke her leg playing football with students - aged 63.

Mrs Harris was cherished for her 'firm but fair' attitude and was known to give chase, and catch, cyclists who dared to cycle in college grounds on her watch.

She retired after leaving Somerville in 2008, but still found time to complete A-Levels in English and Medieval History.

She was diagnosed with Myeloma, a form of cancer, five years ago.

Ms Harris died on Tuesday, October 30 at the Churchill Hospital, Headington, and is survived by her daughter, Keron.

Her funeral, which will accept donations for Myeloma Research, will be on Monday, November 26 at Banbury Crematorium at 12pm.