Maryanne and Tommy Pilling are believed to be the first Down syndrome couple to get married, and while they had their doubters, the couple could not be happier 22 years later.
Their romance has attracted world wide attention, with Maryanne’s sister, Lindi, documenting their romance in a Facebook group.
Lindi says that her sister had wanted a ‘big white wedding’ ever since she was a little girl, and that’s exactly what she got.
She told The Sun about the day Maryanne met Tommy: ‘She came home with the biggest smile on her face. She couldn’t stop talking about him and asked if he could come for dinner.’
After about 18 months, Tommy wanted to propose and turned up with a plastic ring. Maryanne’s mother took him shopping to a jeweller to pick a proper ring.
Lindi says she’s so proud of her sister and brother-in-law for getting married and daring to be happy, especially when people with learning difficulties are expected to not achieve certain things.
“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.
“People worried about their own children or grandchildren with Down syndrome get hope from Maryanne and Tommy’s story.
“Hope that their children can also fall in love and live happily ever after.”
Maryanne and Tommy live independently, but have family nearby who are always on hand to help.
Maryanne says she couldn’t be happier: “I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes.
“Tommy and I never argue. I love my husband very much. He is my best friend.”