Over 2 decades ago, Maryanne and Tommy Pilling met at a training center for people with learning difficulties in Essex. Immediately, love was in the air.
But, right away, there were critics of their love. Maryann and Tommy both have Down syndrome, and many people were unsure of the relationship. However– 18 months after they began dating– Tommy approached Maryanne’s mom with a toy ring from a vending machine and a big question: may he have her blessing to propose to Maryanne?
The mom didn’t hesitate to say yes and even took Tommy to a jewelry shop for a “proper ring” for the proposal. When Tommy asked Maryanne to marry him, she was overjoyed.
A few months later, in July of 1995, Maryanne’s life-long dream of a big white wedding came true as she and Tommy tied the knot, surrounded by friends and family.
Maryanne and Tommy’s parents were instantly the targets of much criticism. A lot of people felt it wasn’t appropriate for the parents to allow the lovebirds to marry.
Well, Maryanne and Tommy have quietly silenced the haters. Not with some big display or grand gesture, but by maintaining a deep love for one another throughout over 20 years of marriage. The couple celebrated their 22nd anniversary this year.
Tommy, now age 59, and Maryanne, 45, say they are each other’s best friend. Maryanne says she still remembers their wedding day as the best day of her life.
“They love one another dearly, respect one another and are completely honest,” said Maryanne’s sister, Linda.
The couple live independently in their home in Essex; Maryanne’s mother and sister are both next-door neighbors.
Their love story has inspired thousands through a Facebook page created by Linda to document their love.
“Their relationship is so special because it is pure,” said Linda. “They don’t understand bad emotions of hate.”
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