MP describes 'horrible tragedy' of losing his twin baby boys

Anna Mikhailova
·3-min read
Guy Opperman
Guy Opperman

A minister has spoken of the “horrible tragedy” of the deaths of his twin baby boys.

Guy Opperman wrote a moving tribute to his sons Rafe and Teddy, who died in hospital last week shortly after they were born.

The pensions minister said that he and his wife, Flora, were “shell-shocked” after the loss and will “always miss our boys”. Mr Opperman, the MP for Hexham, Northumberland, wrote: “Teddy came and went from this world quickly and quietly. He passed peacefully. Our younger twin, Rafe, was not born until Tuesday 23, but died later that day in NeoNatal ICU.”

He added: “Baby loss, and coping with grief, is very hard.”

The MP wrote on Twitter: “The loss of our younger twin Rafe was particularly acute. He lived and died within a long day. But we treasure our time with him in Neonatal ICU. We were able to tell him of all our hopes and dreams for him, and our family; but he could not make it and died in Flora’s arms.”

Mr Opperman also thanked the NHS doctors and nurses who tried to save the twins and said he and wife are being supported by Sands, the charity which helps families coping with the grief of baby loss.

Flora later posted her own tribute to the twins on a fundraising page, in which she said they died from preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), a pregnancy complication.

She wrote: “Sadly we lost our twin boys. Teddy came and went from this world quickly, quietly, and peacefully on Saturday night, 20/6/2020. Rafe was not born until 105am Tuesday morning, 23/06/2020.

“Later that morning Rafe struggled and we went back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to be with him. Around 1230pm he died peacefully in my arms with my husband Guy as we told him all our dreams for him.”

She added: “We are therefore coordinating this donation fund for research [into PPROM]. This will hopefully prevent other families experiencing the same pain.”

The couple received cross-party messages of support. Former Cabinet minister David Lidington wrote: “Guy, You and Flora are in my thoughts & prayers. My heartfelt & unreserved sympathy for you both.”

Conservative MP James Brokenshire wrote: “Guy, so desperately sorry to hear of the loss of Teddy and Rafe. Thinking of you and Flora.”

Wes Streeting, the Labour shadow minister, wrote: “I’m not sure there are any words that can bring you comfort right now, but sending you and your family love and  deepest condolences.”

Referring to the Buddhist concept of life and death being like a wave, Mr Opperman wrote on Twitter: “The wave quote is a good description of this awful process, and an acceptance of life passing.

“You never regret trying to have children. Sometimes baby loss happens. We will never forget our boys. They will be with us always. Just sadly only in their spirit and their memory.”

He added: “You never regret trying to have children. Sometimes baby loss happens. We will never forget our boys. They will be with us always. Just sadly only in their spirit and their memory.”

A year after being made an MP in 2010, Mr Opperman was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After successful operations, tests results showed the tumour was benign.

The former barrister was appointed parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions in June 2017.