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Couple With LD Celebrate 10 Years Of Marriage

August 12, 2015

I hope that soon, stories like this won’t be news, because this will be something ‘normal.’

A New Milton couple with learning disabilities are celebrating 10 happy years of marriage and overcoming the hurdles faced along the way.

Mike and Jane Snell have both used supported living accommodation in the town for nearly 30 years and now live happily together in a Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL) apartment, which provides them with onsite support when they need it.

The pair, who are now both in their 50s, first moved to separate semi-independent flats in 1993 and by the end of 2003 they had become an item and moved in together, before tying the knot in 2005.

During their marriage, the couple has faced a range of challenges, not least in the form of recent health and mobility issues.

Despite this Mike and Jane have now celebrated the 10-year milestone with a party and barbecue at their home in the market town with friends, relatives and staff.

Mike said: “The past 10 years have been fantastic and we really enjoyed celebrating it with our friends and family at New Milton.”

Jane added: “It was lovely to have everyone in one place and share stories over the barbecue.

“I hope our relationship proves that if you find the right person, you can have the marriage you dream of – learning disability or not.”

Mike, who has balance difficulties as well as Parkinson’s Disease, has needed to use a wheelchair while Jane, who has Down’s Syndrome, has also developed recent mobility problems.

The couple have lots of happy memories of holidays enjoyed together at Butlins, and their honeymoon in Bournemouth.

For their wedding, Mike and Jane chose a local pub as the venue for the reception. The special occasion was very much a friends, family and team managed affair with staff taking photos, driving the bridal car and one of the team leaders making the bridesmaid dresses.

SSL’s local service manager Alison Notman said: “The past 10 years have been such a success story for Mike and Jane.

“I can still remember seeing Jane’s father smiling at her as he led her down the aisle; and it was lovely to see Jane’s mother, at the age of 95, at their anniversary celebrations.”

The two’s achievements haven’t been limited to marriage either. Over the years, Mike has held down stable work in the kitchen at the local New Forest day centre, while Jane worked in a local school.

Jane now looks to inspire others with learning disabilities, not least her niece Alice, who also has Down’s Syndrome.

Alison added: “Mike and Jane are a shining example of what people with learning disabilities can achieve and have served as trailblazers to a new generation of people with special support needs.

“When they made their vows, a wedding among a couple with learning disabilities was very rare indeed and now, just as independent living has become more common, so too has marriage.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Florence permalink
    August 12, 2015 12:46 pm

    I knew a similar couple back in the 1970’s, she LD, he brain damaged in an accident. They were also in supported accommodation, had family & church in the same village, and were so happy. They decided before they wed that they would not be able to cope with children and had very straightforward discussions about sex, and both held down jobs and managed very well financially as long as they stuck to cash. I think it still makes people uncomfortable to see that LD can have loving & lasting relationships. Perhaps it’s the challenge that they are confronted with seeing that LD are really just like you & me. I hope this couple are happy for many years to come. Everyone deserves that, and they do more than most. Disability is a challenge in daily life, and a loving relationship makes a huge difference to quality of life.

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