The Down syndrome couple, Tommy and Maryanne Pilling, recently celebrated their nearly 24th anniversary of marriage. These days, finding happiness seems more challenging, and divorce is frequent in our society. Marriage can be challenging for two people with special needs because of the stigma associated with Down syndrome.

Even so, Marianne and Tommy Billing’s marriage was the first in the country. People were suspicious and critical of it, but they were all wrong.


They married in an Essex church more than two decades ago and have been happily married ever since. They are celebrating their 24th year together, and millions of people on social media have shown their support.

This shows how appealing it is to be a husband and wife. When they first met in a daycare in 1991, Tommy chose to ask her out for an 18-month relationship. For their anniversary, the couple decided to perform the opening dance from Dirty Dancing to celebrate their love and remember their wedding day.


Marianne reported that she was surprised when Tommy asked her to marry him. They have a close friendship and never argue. We are grateful to Marianne’s mother and everyone else who assisted them in making this decision.

Tommy couldn’t buy a real ring at the time he wanted to, so he chose to propose using a plastic ring from the vending machine. When Linda Martin, Marianne’s mother, learned about the initiative, she helped her daughter choose and buy a ring.

Twenty-four years ago, when he proposed to his sweetheart, she “jumped with joy.” She writes about their relationship and provides beautiful photos of their time together on their Facebook page.

When they first met, they joined a training centre for people with learning disabilities. The two began dating after only a short while of seeing each other’s eyes. How Maryanne was when she met Tommy is described by Maryanne’s sister Lindi in an interview with the Daily Mail.

People stare and assume those with Down syndrome and learning disabilities can’t get married when couples are seen walking down the street holding hands.

Sadly, a lot of this hesitation was caused by the negative attitudes in society and how people would react to them. However, Tommy and Maryanne were able to disprove everyone’s claims.

“My wedding was the best day of my life,” Maryanne says. “Although I was shocked when Tommy proposed, I had no trouble accepting.”


Tens of thousands of people follow them on Facebook. It is well known that recent good wishes for the couple’s future happiness, love, and understanding have been expressed. Because they believe they can, people want to live a very long time.

Lindy believes Marianne and Tommy can give those worried about their grandchildren or children with Down syndrome hope since they can live happy life. Even after more than two years, couples still give the same advice: be open with one another and spend as much time as possible together.

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