SIR Roger Bannister was ‘overwhelmingly proud’ in his final few days after the birth of his first great-grandchild, his family said as they paid tribute to the sporting icon and leading neurologist.

His sons and daughters said their father, who died peacefully, ‘immersed himself’ in Oxford life.

His daughter, Rev Charlotte Bannister-Parker, said he became a great-grandfather for the first time just weeks before his death on Saturday, aged 88.

Sir Roger’s wife of 62 years, Lady Moyra Bannister, said he was a man who ‘banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends’.

The family also thanked staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for the ‘tender care and kindness’ he received in the final week of his life.

Sir Roger, who was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, at Iffley Road running track on May 6, 1954, lived in the city for much of his life and described it as his ‘emotional home.’

Sporting legends, friends, politicians and the Prime Minister have all paid tribute to Sir Roger – one of the most celebrated sportsmen in British history.

The world of medicine also remembered him for his contribution to neurology, which he said was his own greatest achievement alongside his family.

Rev Bannister-Parker, associate priest at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, in High Street, led the tributes.

She said it was his family and friends that mattered most to him.

Rev Bannister-Parker said: “My father was overwhelmingly proud of all his children and his 14 grandchildren.

“He had just welcomed into the world his first great-grandchild – Aurora – meaning dawn.

“She was born seven weeks ago and he was able to hold her into his arms – seeing the light and hope she brought to us all.”

Rev Bannister-Parker, her sister Erin and her brothers Clive and Thurstan also paid tribute to Lady Bannister.

They said: “Our parents had nearly 63 years of a wonderful marriage.

“Our mother Moyra and he collaborated on so very many aspects of his work and supported each other through thick and thin.

“As we all know behind every great man there is a great woman.”

Rev Bannister-Parker also said his passion for religion, which brought him peace in his ‘hectic years’ as a junior doctor and young father, remained with him until the end.

She said: “In those precious final hours we were able to share prayers, psalms, poetry and hymns with my father at his bedside.

“My mother knew that he received great comfort from hearing them.

“In the end, we felt he was at peace.”

Pembroke College, where Sir Roger served as the master from 1985 to 1993, said his legacy lives on at the college and continues to inspire students.

In a statement the college said: “Sir Roger and his family lived in the master’s lodgings in college and took a deep interest in each student and their successes.

“He sustained that interest right up until the end, and his legacy lives on in the college, where it will continue to inspire new generations of students.”

Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, Sir Mo Farah, Steve Cram and Lord Coe were among the plethora of athletics stars who spoke of Sir Roger as an inspiration following his death.