MANY couples are fortunate enough to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, but not many do it with 67,000 well-wishers from all around the world behind them.

That’s exactly what Tommy Pilling and his wife Maryanne had, as they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on Wednesday.

The pair, who are the world’s longest married couple living with Down’s Syndrome, celebrated with their loved ones by enjoying a socially distanced take-away. 

But the couple were also treated to a whole host of anniversary messages from the 67,000 followers on their shared Facebook page, who include people from as far as Australia and America.

Despite battling scepticisms and dementia, the couple say they still love each other more than ever, so much so they have even renewed their wedding vows twice since tying the knot on July 15, 1995.


Wedding day

Maryanne, 49, said: “It was love at first sight. He was handsome, friendly and straight away I could tell he was special. 

“I always knew we’d be together all these years later.

“I was really shocked when I walked into the garden to see all the balloons, cards, cakes and banners all laid out for us and at how kind everyone was, we all had such a good day.”

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Her sister Lindi Newman, who is also a full time carer for the couple, was only two when the couple first met and grew up expecting nothing less than a love like theirs - in what she believes is the perfect marriage.

She says the family have been so overwhelmed by the support the couple have had over the years, especially on their Facebook page which was set up around five years ago after Tommy was a victim of distraction theft.

The 32-year-old, from Shoebury, said: “So many messaged to try and help find who was involved in the theft, and ever since the page has just been growing and growing, with people from literally all over the world.

“Everyone has been so kind to them, it’s incredible. 

“They were meant to be having their party last week which was cancelled because of coronavirus and so was their holiday, so we’re hoping to do both next year- maybe even something joint when Maryanne turn’s 50.

“There’s no other way to describe them but pure. I grew up watching them and how perfect they are, it reminded me of a fairytale.

“It’s always been them two together for as long as I can remember, they even renewed their vows when they celebrated 10 years and then also 20 years of marriage.

“Thank you everyone for your support and happy anniversary Maryanne and Tommy. What a milestone.”

The duo were married at St Mary’s Church, in Southend, and met when they were working in a kitchen at a learning centre for adults.

Tommy, 62, added: “We’re so happy. To this day I remember thinking of how lovely she was when we first met and even now we’re still together after all this time.”