When Tommy and Maryanne Pilling first met, many people dismissed their connection, alleging that they shouldn’t get married because they both had Down syndrome. But their love was stronger than any real or imagined obstacles, and for a quarter of a century, Tommy and Maryanne Pilling were blessed with a joy-filled marriage. They were one of the first couples in the UK with Down syndrome to tie the knot.
Their life together was not without difficulties, however; this past year, Tommy was diagnosed with dementia. In December, he also contracted COVID-19.
“Our beautiful Tommy peacefully passed … after a battle with covid pneumonia… Thank you for showing me what unconditional love was, I will remember your beautiful ways forever, your pure heart, your love of music, Elvis, your dancing. Your positive attitude and how you appreciated the small things. Thank you for making Maryanne so happy.”
Newman had previously told news sources about what made their marriage work:
“Anyone should have the right to marry the love of their life without prejudice or discrimination… What keeps their marriage so strong is that there is never a hidden agenda. They love each other with their whole hearts and are honest with one another.”
While Tommy is no longer with us, his and Maryanne’s legacy of love lives on. Their story demonstrates one of the many ways people with Down syndrome can live happy, fulfilling lives; they too can fall in love and get married just like anyone else. To read more about their story, check out this post.