Westminster Abbey will dedicate a new memorial stone to Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

On 6th May 1954 at Oxford he ran the mile in three minutes 59.4 seconds, breaking the previous world record, which had stood for almost nine years, and a general perception that it was beyond human capacity to run a mile faster than four minutes.

Family and friends, including his widow Lady Bannister, his children and grandchildren will attend a short service led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle which will include prayers, readings, and a reflection on Sir Roger’s life.

Sir Roger always maintained that his achievements as a distinguished neurologist far outshone his time on the track and so the memorial stone will be dedicated in Scientists’ Corner in the nave of the Abbey, close to the graves of distinguished fellow scientists Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Professor Stephen Hawking, whose ashes were buried there in 2018.

Sir Roger specialised in understanding and treating disorders of the autonomic nervous system, which controls all the automatic functions of the body — such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and digestion.

In 1952, aged 23, he came fourth in the 1500-metre final of the Olympic Games in Helsinki.

In 1954 before retiring from competitive athletics he also won the mile at the Commonwealth Games and the 1500-metre final at the European Games.

The service will take place on Tuesday 28th September at 11am.