We often hear stories about people who have been married for many years. Sometimes, they may be celebrating anniversaries that show the number of decades that have passed. Perhaps we see people who have been married for five, six or perhaps even seven decades! Those are milestones that are well were celebrating but for this couple, 24 years of marriage is also something amazing. It is inspiring when we look at what happened behind the scenes.
Maryanne and Tommy Pilling got married in July 1995. It was a rather unusual wedding for the time because they both have Down syndrome. In today’s world, this type of union would be celebrated but at that time, they faced a lot of backlash from those who said the relationship would never last. There were many people who were vocal about the love they had for each other.
In the end, Maryanne and Tommy Pilling are able to have the last laugh because they have been married for 24 years. Despite what everyone had said or even thought about their wedding, they are together and happy.
Maryanna, 46, and Tommy, 49 are both from Essex, England and they faced a number of unique challenges because of their relationship. They had to face prejudice along the way but despite everything that was thrown at them, they are in love with each other.
They met each other when they were at a training center for individuals who have learning difficulties. It didn’t take long before they were a couple.
“The day Maryanne met Tommy, she came home with the biggest smile on her face,” Maryanne’s sister Lindi tells the Daily Mail. “She couldn’t stop talking about him and asked if he could come for dinner.”
They began dating right away and Tommy popped the question 18 months after they started seeing each other. He wanted to have her as his wife but he also needed the blessing of her mother.
Maryanne’s mother and family did hesitate at first but eventually, they were happy to give their blessing to the marriage. Part of the hesitancy had to do with the negative criticism that was coming from others in the community. Most people thought that the marriage would never last but these two still have a strong love for each other.
“My wedding was the best day of my life,” Maryanne told the Express. “I was shocked when Tommy proposed, but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes.”
They stood together in a church in Essex in July 1995 and said ‘I do.’ They celebrated their dream wedding on that day.
Maryanne had her mother go with Tommy when he went to make the ring purchase.
“When they walk down the street holding hands they make a statement, but in a good way,” sister Lindi tells People. “Some people stare — they assume people with Down Syndrome and learning difficulties can’t get married.”
“Their relationship is so special because it is pure — they don’t understand bad emotions of hate,” she adds. “I hope that their children can also fall in love and live happily ever after.”
A Facebook page was launched by the sister to document the love story that was unfolding.
“We get so many lovely messages from people who are inspired by their story,” Lindi says. “People worried about their own children or grandchildren with Down Syndrome get hope from Maryanne and Tommy’s story.”
Looking at the pictures from their wedding you can tell that they are very happy with each other.
Considerable social media following began to accumulate over the years. Fans can look at pictures and read updates on their Facebook page.
The page was dedicated to the happy couple and more than 50,000 people have liked it.
Maryanne’s sister recently posted pictures of the couple at Disneyland and having a meal out.
You can even see a picture of Maryanne sleeping on Tommy, which was captioned: “The excitement is just too much for Maryanne. A lot of people wish them well and consider them to be an inspiration for other couples as well.”
You can see more in this video: