When Maryanne and Tommy Pilling fell in love, some people told them it wouldn’t last.

But in July 1995, the devoted couple who had Down syndrome took the groundbreaking step of getting married.

Despite all the haters all the hurdles they faced, Maryanne and Tommy’s love story continues to amaze and inspire thousands worldwide.

It’s been 27 years since Maryanne and Tommy Pilling made world history by becoming the first-ever couple with Down syndrome to marry.
But it wasn’t always easy for these two lovebirds. Maryanne and Tommy, both from Essex, England, faced countless challenges. They experienced the cruelty of prejudice from bigoted people due to their condition.

The couple met at a training center for people with learning difficulties. They first laid eyes on each other while working in the kitchen: it was love at first sight, and the two started dating.

Maryanne was born on May 17, 1971. Thankfully, she was raised by people who loved her unconditionally. Both Maryanne’s mother and sister were important pillars for her throughout the years. But, unfortunately, her father rejected her after she was born.

Tommy came into the world on March 21, 1958 – a date that is now known as “World Down Syndrome Day.” Tommy had a difficult childhood and became an orphan at 12. He grew up in a care home in Essex.

Tommy had a difficult childhood and became an orphan at 12. He grew up in a care home in Essex.

When Tommy met Maryanne, he was 32. Maryanne was only 19, but the age difference wasn’t a barrier. Maryanne’s mom Linda recalled her daughter’s reaction after their first meeting.

“The day Maryanne met Tommy, she came home with the biggest smile on her face,” she told Daily Mail and continued:

“She couldn’t stop talking about him and asked if he could come for dinner.

Tommy and Maryanne were a match made in heaven. They were both brave souls who shared many interests. They loved cooking, watching movies, and dining at restaurants.

Tommy was confident Maryanne was the one for him, and 18 months after they started dating, he firmly decided that he wanted to make Maryanne his wife. But he wouldn’t go through with it until her mother agreed.

Maryanne’s mother and the rest of her family were hesitant, in part because of all of the criticism and negative reactions from people in their local community. But in the end, they ultimately gave the couple their blessings, saying the couple’s relationship is “magical” and “pure.”

Some people still thought the idea was absurd and that the union wouldn’t last – but nothing could stop the love these two had for one another.

On July 15, 1995, Tommy and Maryanne got married in front of 250 guests in a beautiful church in Essex. Maryanne’s mother had accompanied Tommy to buy the ring to ensure everything was perfect.

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