Ebullient, eloquent and elegant, Major General Sir Sebastian Roberts was a “soldier of unusual intellect”, an accomplished cartoonist, and a wonderful friend to the Marfan Trust. We are terribly sad to report his death on 9 March.

As Master of The Girdlers’ Company from 2020 to 2022, Sir Sebastian encouraged and facilitated important pieces of research in our Sonalee Laboratory, by persuading the Girdlers Guild to fund three studentships every summer. From these studentships have emerged studies of newly discovered genes causing thoracic aortic aneurysms and a wealth of information on psychosocial effects and height restriction in Marfan syndrome. This summer sees our students undertake important research on improved treatment for gastrointestinal disorders, and neonatal Marfan syndrome. None of this would be possible without Sir Sebastian’s helpful interventions on our behalf. During the dark days of lockdown when our office was forcibly disbanded, Sir Sebastian ensured our homes had the necessary equipment to continue our roles seamlessly.

Sir Sebastian was never afraid to speak about his Marfan syndrome and used his knowledge and experience to cheer on others who had the same diagnosis. An advocate for our cause and a mentor to many, he gave clarity and comfort to parents and patients anticipating aortic surgery. Only recently a supporter reported feeling as though he had  ‘new lease of life’ after speaking to Sir Sebastian. 

“But for [his own] heart problem which prevented him taking on more front-line roles in his later career, he might have gone on to the most senior level in the army” (The Daily Telegraph). Nevertheless, Sir Sebastian was Colonel of the Irish Guards until 2011 when he handed over to HRH the Duke of Cambridge, and the Colonel responsible for Military Doctrine when he wrote the British Army's doctrine of the Moral Component "Soldiering: The Military Covenant". He was also a broadcaster in demand during the late Queen’s funeral. These are just three of his many professional achievements.

Diagnosed with Marfan syndrome as a child, Sir Sebastian was an adult patient at St George’s Hospital under surgeon Professor Marjan Jahangiri and Dr Anne Child, and spoke at the latter's retirement gathering. A revered raconteur, his oratory was “sought from far and wide” (according to his colleagues at The Girdlers) and facts gathered during his many adventures often peppered his anecdotes.

Sir Sebastian’s many, inestimable achievements filled us with admiration at the Marfan Trust, and his positive philosophy and charming manner cheered us all. We will miss him hugely and send deepest condolences to his family and many, many friends.

Further Reading:

Sir Sebastian's Experience at St George's Hospital

Newspaper Obituaries:

The Telegraph

Marfan Trust, a CIO registered as a charity in England in Wales with charity number 1198847 at: c/o 24 Oakfield Lane, Keston, Kent, BR2 6BY. Contact us at [email protected] or by phone on + 44 (0)333 011 5256
Log in | Powered by White Fuse