Whenever an athletics match was held in Oxford, it was an odds-on certainty that Aubrey Harris would be there, writes Henrietta Richards.

Thousands of runners will remember him as the man with the starting pistols.

No-one would get away with a false start when he was in charge.

But he was much more than just the race starter.

He devoted nearly 60 years to the sport as competitor, official and administrator.

No wonder he was dubbed Oxford's Mr Athletics'.

He started running at the age of 10 when he was a pupil at South Oxford School, and won his first trophy a year later in the Oxford University Press sports.

Before leaving school, he won 20 prizes, including the Berks, Bucks and Oxon schoolboy cross-country championship.

He joined Oxford Harriers and at 17, represented Oxfordshire at cross-country.

He joined the Army, and won mile and three-mile titles, then represented the Amateur Athletic Association and Great Britain.

After leaving the Army, he returned to Oxford and joined the YMCA Athletics Club which, at the time, had one of the best medley relay teams in the country.

During the Second World War, he continued to run while serving as an RAF physical training instructor.

He was one of the few to have represented both the Army and RAF in the sport.

Aubrey gave up active competition in 1948 after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a race at Birmingham at the age of 40.

He then turned his attention to helping to run athletics in Oxford.

He was one of the founding members of the Oxford City Athletics Club in 1946, became secretary in 1953 and held the post until 1971 when he was made a life-vice-president. His final sports day as starter was at the Dragon School in 1975, bringing to an end a distinguished athletics career which had spanned 57 years.