Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

Couple With Down Syndrome Prove Naysayers Wrong And Celebrate 24 Years Of Marriage

Back in 1995, Tommy and Maryanne Pilling ignored the critics and the doubters and decided to get married, effectively becoming the first couple with Down Syndrome to ever tie the knot in Britain, Upworthy reported.

Now, 24 years later, the pair have defied the odds and remain happily married, and continue to inspire the world with their incredible story.

Maryanne and Tommy first met back in 1990 while working in the kitchen at a local training center for people with disabilities.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

According to their official Facebook page, the two hit it off right away, first becoming close friends before they eventually began dating.

Load Comments

After just 18 months of seeing each other, Tommy popped the question and Maryanne, of course, said "yes."

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

"I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes," the 48-year-old told the Independent.

Load Comments

After a three-year engagement, the pair were finally married in a beautiful ceremony with over 250 guests in attendance.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

Nothing could ruin their fairy-tale wedding, not even those who objected to this couple ever marrying in the first place.

Load Comments

And the words of these objectors could get pretty vicious.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

"When they got engaged 26 years ago many many people doubted them, said it was disgusting and they shouldn’t be allowed to get married, they also said that it would never work," their Facebook page, run by Maryanne's sister Lindi Newman, reads.

Load Comments

"But it’s amazing to say they are still as happy as they were 29 years ago when they first met."

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

The pair have amassed a strong social media following with over 60,000 fans keeping up with their heartwarming story through their Facebook page.

Load Comments

Those fans are rewarded with frequent pictures and posts to keep them updated on how Tommy and Maryanne are still enjoying married life 24 years later.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

They've even renewed their vows — twice!

Load Comments

Some photos show the pair taking vacations together, like a recent trip in which they visited Disneyland with family.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

But there are also photos which show a simpler side of Tommy and Maryanne's life together, like grabbing a cup of coffee at a local cafe and taking silly photos of each other using Snapchat filters.

Load Comments

Maryanne's sister, Lindi, said her sister and Tommy offer a beacon of hope for parents of children with Down Syndrome.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

"When they walk down the street holding hands they make a statement but in a good way," she told the Independent.

Load Comments

Although the doubters haven't entirely gone away, the couple is getting a lot more support.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

"Some people stare, they assume people with Down Syndrome and learning difficulties can't get married. But we also get so many lovely lovely messages from people who are inspired by their story."

Load Comments

While their love has certainly endured the test of time, this couple has definitely faced their face share of struggles.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

61-year-old Tommy was reportedly diagnosed with dementia five years ago, and the debilitating disease is only getting worse.

"He’s forgotten who Maryanne is a handful of times," Lindi told the Express. "It always happens really late at night. He pushes her away and says, 'I don’t know who you are' and 'I don’t love you.' Maryanne takes that to heart and is absolutely crushed and hysterical."

Load Comments

As Tommy's mind worsens, he may be placed in residential care, potentially without his wife by his side.

Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

In a Facebook post from September addressing this news, Lindi wrote about the situation and condemned the media for reporting that the pair were "separating."

"Yes we're unsure of what their future will be but we take each day as it comes," she wrote. "As a family up until now we have done everything we can for them to live happy independent lives, that will never change. Every decision we make will be the best for them."

h/t: Upworthy, Independent, Facebook | Maryanne and Tommy

Load Comments
Next Article