THE first Down’s Syndrome couple to get married in Britain are at the brink of separation after 24 years together.
Maryanne Pilling, 48, and Tommy Pilling, 61, faced a wrath of criticism in the run up to their lavish white wedding at St Mary’s Church, Essex, in July 1995.
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”.
They defied odds, celebrating their 22nd anniversary, looking more loved-up than ever on their Facebook page.
But five years ago, Tommy developed dementia and he may be taken from Maryanne.
According to reports, it has become so bad, at times he forgets who she is, leaving her “hysterical”.
Maryanne’s sister Lindi Newman, 31, told the 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.”
Lindi says she tries to reassure Maryanne, 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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Maryanne had dreamed about a big white wedding since she was a little girl, which is exactly what she had on the beautiful 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.
“She received a lot of flak at the time for letting them get married but she insisted it was their decision.”
Down’s Syndrome couple Maryanne and Tommy, who have been married for 22 years, get ready for a night out[/caption]
They said that people sometimes stare at them and think people with Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties can’t get married[/caption]
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