Sir Roger Bannister four-minute mile stopwatch up for auction

Roger Bannister stopwatch Image copyright Graham budd auctions
Image caption The stopwatch was used by timekeeper W. J. Burfitt

A stopwatch used to time Roger Bannister, the first man to run a four-minute mile, is expected to fetch up to £8,000 at auction.

As a 25-year-old, Sir Roger, now 86, made sporting history with his landmark run at Oxford's Iffley Road track on 6 May 1954.

The stopwatch was used by timekeeper W. J. Burfitt.

Auctioneer Graham Budd said it was from "one of those remarkable, historic moments in British sporting history".

He added: "It's known all round the world, which is quite wonderful. At that time, it was thought to be a remarkable human achievement

"Goodness knows when the next opportunity will come, if at all, to acquire another of the watches that was used on the day, hence the estimate of £5,000 to £8,000 which is what we're expecting."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There were five timekeepers on the day Sir Roger broke the four minute mile barrier.

Sir Roger ran the mile in three minutes and fifty nine seconds.

The Swiss-made chrome Nero Lemania stopwatch used is being sold with an invoice for repairs made out to Mr Burfitt.

It also includes his personal copy of the programme from the day, which is signed by Sir Roger.

There were five timekeepers in all on the day the four minute mile barrier was broken.

Charles Hill was the chief timekeeper. His watch was bought by Lord Archer for £8,855 at an auction at Bonham's in 1998 and donated to Oxford University Athletics Club.

Sir Roger studied medicine at the University of Oxford and went on to work in research and clinical practice.

He was knighted in 1975 and retired as Master of Pembroke College, University of Oxford, in 1993.

The runner and neurologist was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011, which he said held a "gentle irony".

The auction will take place at Sotherby's on 18 May.

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