Trailblazing Down Syndrome Couple Defied Sceptics to Marry
Article published by David Jones for the Daily Mail, January 8th 2021
- Tommy and Maryanne Pilling were the trailblazing Down Syndrome couple who defied sceptics to marry in 1995, walking down the aisle in Shoebury, Essex in the United Kingdom
- Their marriage unenlightened naysayers believed should never have been permitted but proved true love knows no bounds and changed attitudes.
- Tommy Pilling, 62, from Southend-onSea, Essex, died from Covid, January 1
- They made history by being the UK’s first couple with Down Syndrome to marry
Pressing her face to the window of the hospital ward where her Covid-stricken husband drifted in and out of consciousness, Maryanne Pilling desperately tried to raise his fighting spirit.
“Tommy, I’m here! Tommy, I love you! You’re going to be all right”, she shouted, waving and blowing him kisses through the frosted glass.
“Look, he’s seen me and he waved back”, she exclaimed to her mother who had driven her to the hospital on Christmas Day.
Sadly, it was an illusion. By then, Tommy Pilling was so ill that he could barely open his eyes or raise his head from the pillow.
At 1.40 am on New Year’s Day Mrs. Martin was woken by the call she’d been expecting while clinging to the hope that it might never come.