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Britain’s first married Down’s syndrome couple face separation

Maryanne Pilling, 48, and Tommy Pilling, 61, tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Essex, England in July 1995.

Celebrating their 22nd anniversary, the pair set up a Facebook page to provide a glimpse into their solid marriage.

But according to The Sun, five years ago, Tommy developed dementia and he may be taken away from Maryanne.

When the couple first met, Maryanne couldn’t stop raving about Tommy. Picture: Facebook
media_cameraWhen the couple first met, Maryanne couldn’t stop raving about Tommy. Picture: Facebook

According to reports, the effects of the dementia have become so bad, at times he forgets who she is, leaving her “hysterical”.

Maryanne’s sister Lindi Newman, 31, told the Daily Express: “He’s forgotten who Maryanne is a handful of times.

“It always happens really late at night. He pushes her away and says, ‘I don’t know who you are’ and ‘I don’t love you’.

“Maryanne takes that to heart and is absolutely crushed and hysterical.”

The couple set up a Facebook page to celebrate their 22nd anniversary but now Tommy has difficulty recognising Maryanne, leaving her “crushed”. Picture: Facebook
media_cameraThe couple set up a Facebook page to celebrate their 22nd anniversary but now Tommy has difficulty recognising Maryanne, leaving her “crushed”. Picture: Facebook

Lindi says she tries to reassure Maryanne that his health is just going through a phase and he will get better.

But she says Maryanne has become so worried that she won’t be able to join him in residential care.

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They dated for around 18 months before Tommy popped the question, and recalled strangers “pointing and staring” at them in the street.

Others insisted people with “learning difficulties shouldn’t get married”.

Maryanne and Tommy Pilling have spent 24 years together but this Christmas may be therir last if Tommy’s dementia worsens. Picture: Facebook
media_cameraMaryanne and Tommy Pilling have spent 24 years together but this Christmas may be therir last if Tommy’s dementia worsens. Picture: Facebook

Maryanne had dreamt about a beautiful white wedding since she was a little girl, which is exactly what she had on the big day.

And meeting Tommy was just the icing on the cake for her.

Describing how they met, Lindi previously said: “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.

Tommy and Maryanne Pilling are facing their 25th wedding anniversary—and a possible separation due to Tommy’s dementia. Picture: Facebook
media_cameraTommy and Maryanne Pilling are facing their 25th wedding anniversary—and a possible separation due to Tommy’s dementia. Picture: Facebook

Lindi “received a lot of flak at the time for letting them get married but she insisted it was their decision.”

As the ciouple’s 25th wedding anniversary approaches, the family worries that Tommy won’t want to celebrate the milestone event or be able to rmember it.

But Maryanne’s sister Lindi told the newspaper that even though the couple would need to be separated if Tommy needs residential crae, the family would “do whatever we could to stop it happening.”

This story first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.

Originally published as Down syndrome couple forced apart

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