THE story of the couple with Down’s Syndrome who have just renewed their wedding vows after 20 years of married life is wonderfully heartwarming.

When Maryanne, now 44, and Tommy Pilling, aged 57, first met at a day centre in Southend 25 years ago, they were subjected to a torrent of criticism. Many people – though it was none of their business - felt that the couple’s relationship was impossible. They even asked Maryanne’s mum, Linda what she thought she was doing allowing them to marry.

The couple live together independently, under the watchful eye of Maryanne’s mum who lives next door. They argue like other couples, and get jealous of each other if one pays attention to the opposite sex.

It’s not just that they’re still so devoted after all this time that’s so lovely, it’s also that they have, quite gently, proved wrong all the busybodies who had to put in their twopenn’orth just because they felt they could.

I wonder how many of them are still happily married?