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Tommy Pilling, One Of Britain’s First Husbands With Downs Syndrome, Dies Aged 62

January 5, 2021

Tributes have been paid to the husband from one of Britain’s first married couples with Down’s syndrome, who has died with Covid-19.

Tommy Pilling, 62, from Shoeburyness, Essex, died on 1 January, two weeks after contracting the virus.

Mr Pilling and his wife Maryanne marked their 25th wedding anniversary in July and had been shielding since March.

Mr Pilling’s sister-in-law Lindi Newman wrote, on Facebook: “I will cherish the thousands of memories I have with him.”

In the statement, on the couple’s Facebook page, Ms Newman said: “Thank you for making Maryanne so happy and for being the best uncle my children could ever ask for.

“Thank you for being you and making the world a better place, touching the lives of millions just by being you.

“Marriage made you my brother-in-law, love made you my brother.”

The family said Maryanne and Tommy – who met at a training centre for people with learning disabilities in Southend-on-Sea in 1990 – had only spent 24 hours apart in 30 years before Mr Pilling required hospital treatment in December.

A previous update on their Facebook page added Mrs Pilling was “absolutely lost” without her husband.

They said he tested positive for Covid on 16 December, days after he was admitted to hospital with suspected pneumonia.

Linda Martin, Maryanne’s mother, said she had considered Mr Pilling her son.

She thanked staff at Southend Hospital, Thurrock Community Hospital and Basildon Hospital for their care of him.

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