Some people predicted that Maryanne and Tommy Pilling’s relationship would not last.
However, in July 1995, the dedicated couple with Down syndrome made the historic step of marrying.
Despite the naysayers and obstacles, Maryanne and Tommy’s love story continues to astonish and inspire many across the world.
It’s been 27 years since Maryanne and Tommy Pilling made history by marrying as the first Down syndrome marriage.
But life wasn’t always simple for these two sweethearts. Maryanne and Tommy, both from Essex, England, overcame several obstacles. Because of their circumstances, they were subjected to discriminatory discrimination.
The pair met at a training facility for persons who have learning disabilities. They initially met while working in the kitchen: it was love at first sight, and the two began dating.
On May 17, 1971, Maryanne was born. Fortunately, she was reared by folks who loved her completely. Maryanne’s mother and sister were both strong supports for her throughout the years. Her father, however, disowned her when she was born.
Tommy was born on March 21, 1958, which is now recognized as “World Down Syndrome Day.” Tommy had a tough life and became an orphan when he was 12 years old. He grew up in an Essex care facility.
Tommy was 32 years old when he met Maryanne. Maryanne was just 19, but the age gap didn’t bother her. Linda, Maryanne’s mother, described her daughter’s response following their first meeting.
“The day Maryanne met Tommy, she came home with the biggest smile on her face,” she told the Daily Mail, adding: “She came home with the biggest smile on her face.”
“She couldn’t stop talking about him and invited him to dinner.”
Tommy and Maryanne were a perfect combination. They were both courageous people with a wide range of interests. They enjoyed cooking, watching movies, and eating out.
Tommy felt certain Maryanne was the one for him, and 18 months after they began dating, he made the decision to marry her. But he wouldn’t do anything until her mother approved.
Maryanne’s mother and the rest of her family were apprehensive, in part because of the criticism and unfavorable reactions from their community. They eventually granted the pair their blessing, stating their bond is “magical” and “pure.”
Some people believed the notion was ridiculous and that the marriage would fail, but nothing could stop the love these two had for one another.
Tommy and Maryanne were married in front of 250 guests on July 15, 1995, at a magnificent church in Essex. Maryanne’s mother had accompanied Tommy to the ring store to verify that everything was in order.
“With her beautiful white gown, tiara, and long veil, Maryanne looked like a princess.” “In his made-to-measure suit, Tommy looked very dapper,” Maryanne’s sister, Linda Newman, wrote.
Maryanne and Tommy exchanged vows in front of their family and friends, and they finally had their perfect wedding.
“My wedding day was the best day of my life,” recalls Maryanne. “I was shocked when Tommy proposed, but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes.”
During the first seven years of their marriage, the couple shared a home with Maryanne’s sister Linda. They then moved into the house next door.
“They get their independence, they get their private time, which I believe is essential for everyone.” “I’m there when you need me,” Linda told the Daily Mail in 2018.
Thankfully, the gorgeous pair proved all the skeptics wrong; Linda says they have encountered a lot of discrimination for being together, much of which stems from people’s ignorance of Down syndrome.
“They make a statement, but in a nice manner, as they go down the street holding hands… “Some people stare — they think people with Down syndrome and learning disabilities can’t marry,” Linda told People in 2017.
The pair has received a lot of attention and support from individuals all across the world over the years. Many people appreciated their connection and considered it as a wonderful example of unconditional love.
“We get so many lovely messages from people who are inspired by their story,” added Linda, who went on to say: “People worried about their own children or grandchildren with Down Syndrome get hope from Maryanne and Tommy’s story.”
Maryanne’s sister also started a Facebook profile for the pair, which helped them establish a large social media following. Fans may view photos and read updates from Maryanne and Tommy’s daily life on the fan page.
Maryanne and Tommy were typical married couples who enjoyed doing things together. They saw movies, played golf, spent time with their families, and traveled.
A grim prognosis
Unfortunately, the pair faced their most difficult fight when Tommy received a tragic prognosis. Tommy was diagnosed with dementia by physicians in 2014.
If you’ve ever seen a loved one suffer with dementia, you know how cruel and harsh it can be.
Memory, communication, attention, logic, and visual perception are all affected, leaving patients a shell of their former self and making it incredibly difficult for family and friends to interact with them.
Lindi Newman, Maryanne’s sister, told Metro in 2019:
“A few times, he’s forgotten who Maryanne is. It always happens at a very late hour. He pushes her away, saying, “I don’t know who you are” and “I don’t love you.” Maryanne takes this to heart and is devastated and frantic.”
“She calls me up, and I put on my shoes and walk across the street to try to calm them down.” Tommy is scared as well, but he quickly forgets about it.”
Tommy Pilling died
Tommy tested positive with COVID-19 at the end of 2019 after being brought to the hospital with suspected pneumonia.
Tommy died two weeks after catching the illness, which proved to be a severe case. He was 62 years old at the time.
Condolences poured in on the couple’s Facebook page following the devastating news. Linda sent some heartfelt and wonderful comments about Tommy, describing him as “the best uncle my children could ever ask for.”
“I will treasure the tens of thousands of memories I have with him.” Thank you for simply being you and making the world a better place by impacting the lives of millions. Linda wrote, “Marriage made you my brother-in-law; love made you my brother.”
Linda noted in another post that Maryanne was “absolutely lost” without her husband.
People with Down syndrome are the most caring, affectionate, and innocent people. They are entitled to respect and assistance, as well as the ability to live without prejudice. I’m delighted Maryanne and Tommy were able to be together and enjoy the pleasure they deserved.
I hope Maryann gets a lot of support now that her beloved Tommy is in Heaven, RIP Tommy.