Shropshire Star

Watch: 'Second life' for Lembit Opik after face op

Former Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik has been "given a second life" after radical facial surgery he jokingly said he hoped would transform him into George Clooney.


The Liberal Democrat politician, who has dated weathergirl Sian Lloyd and Cheeky Girl Gabriela Irimia, showed off the results of the NHS surgery to fix his "wonky face" which he sustained in a horrific paragliding accident 18 years ago.

Speaking on This Morning, he said: "I fell about 30 yards, 28 metres, and broke my back in 12 places, my ribs, my sternum, my jaw. We didn't realise I'd smashed my jaw because I was that close to death."

He said the way his broken jaw healed was "frankly a nightmare . . . constant pain, not able to eat properly and my teeth were disintegrating".

Opik underwent "life-changing" surgery last month which moved his jaw 14mm to the left and 6mm up. "They basically cut the bottom of my face off and put it back on again," he said.

Talking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, he revealed that he had burst into tears on waking up after the operation and was now undergoing counselling to adjust to his new face.

He said: "I remember how I felt at the time (of the 1998 accident) when my ex-girlfriend Sam was sitting with me and I said to her I loved her and I thought that might be the last thing I say to anybody.

"So I'd carried 18 years of that near-death experience with me and I cried my eyes out (after the operation)."

He also admitted that he had been recovering on his own and was lonely.

"I am, it's solitary. Initially I had great friends looking after me but I've been on my own most nights."

He added: "It's given me space to think. I'm 50 now, I feel like I've been given a second life, perhaps because I feel so confident about being symmetrical."

Opik said he had one more operation and two years of reconstruction surgery to come.

"It'll be half a decade in all, but you know what, I could have died on that mountain and I can't thank the NHS enough for putting me together then and restoring me now," he said.

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