'Beautiful warrior' Indi Gregory’s funeral held in Nottingham

Indi Gregory's funeral was held at St Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, ITV News Central Correspondent Rajiv Popat reports

The father of Indi Gregory has paid tribute to his "beautiful warrior" at the eight-month-old’s funeral in Nottingham.

Indi, who was born in February with a rare mitochondrial disease, was at the centre of a legal fight before her life-support treatment was withdrawn and she died at a hospice in the early hours of November 13.

Her parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth who are both in their 30s and from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, lost legal bids in the High Court and Court of Appeal in London for specialists to keep treating her.

He told ITV News Central: "She was beautiful and we knew she was special from when she was born.

"No matter what disability she had we knew we'd care for her no matter what.

"Just knowing that you have to give a child a little bit more help - it does make you more grown-up as a person. She just touched our hearts really."

'Indi, she's got a legacy now', her dad tells ITV News Central

The couple, supported by campaign group Christian Concern, also failed in a bid to transfer Indi to the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome for specialist treatment, with the Italian government later offering to pay for Indi’s funeral.

Before a service led by the Bishop of Nottingham, Reverend Patrick McKinney, at Nottingham Cathedral on Friday, Indi’s white coffin, adorned with pink and white flowers, was carried through the city’s streets in a horse-drawn carriage.

A procession of eight Rolls-Royce cars transported Indi’s family behind the carriage.

Indi Gregory’s father Dean Gregory carries the coffin of his daughter into St Barnabus Cathedral, Nottingham Credit: front

More than 100 people, including a delegation from the Italian government, including Minister of Families Eugenia Roccella and Minister of Disabilities Alessandra Locatelli, gathered inside the cathedral for the service at 10.15am, which featured a choir and organ music.

Mr Gregory said in an earlier statement that Indi would have her favourite musical lamb toy in her coffin with her.

Inside the cathedral, a tribute read out by Canon Paul Newman on behalf of Mr Gregory, recognised Indi as a “true warrior”.

He said: “I honestly and truly feel, deep in my heart, that Indi was not only beautiful, strong and unique. I just knew, from the start, she was very special.

“Nonetheless, I could never have imagined the sort of journey we and Indi would have to go through to fight for her life.

“She didn’t only have to battle against her health problems, she had to battle against a system that makes it almost impossible to win.

Indi Gregory was at the centre of a court battle over treatment Credit: Family handout/PA

“Yet, it was her weakest point, her health problems, that distinguished Indi as a true warrior.

“Indi overcame so much: she had seizures, two operations, sepsis, e-coli, including other infections, that even another child would struggle to beat.

“But Indi’s determination to fight for a chance of life really inspired me.

“The strength she had for an eight-month-old child was incredible. And this is one of the reasons I would have done anything for Indi to have the chance to live which was denied her.”

Indi died shortly after her life-support treatment was withdrawn after her parents lost legal bids in the High Court and Court of Appeal Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

The grieving parents have vowed to make sure their daughter is “remembered forever”.

Mr Gregory’s tribute added: “I have now reached the conclusion that this was indeed Indi’s destiny … but now this chapter of Indi’s destiny is over.

“Her legacy, however, has only just begun. I wanted to make sure Indi would be remembered forever and she will live on in our hearts and through our voices.”

During the service, a book featuring thousands of tributes from across Italy was presented to Indi’s parents.

Paying tribute, Ms Roccella said the Italian government felt “deep sorrow” at Indi’s death.

She said: “We have tried everything we could to bring her to Rome.”

The horse-drawn hearse carrying the coffin of baby Indi Gregory Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

During the legal battle, High Court judge Mr Justice Peel had ruled limiting Indi’s treatment would be lawful, and doing so would be in her best interests.

Her parents then failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges and judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, to overturn that treatment decision.

Mr Justice Peel also ruled a move to Italy would not be in Indi’s best interests and Court of Appeal judges backed that decision.

Judges heard Indi, who was born on February 24, had mitochondrial disease – a genetic condition that saps energy.

Specialists said she was dying and the treatment she was receiving caused pain and was futile.

The service was led by Bishop Patrick McKinney Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, after Indi’s death: “We did everything we could, everything possible. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Have a safe trip little Indi.”

Pope Francis has expressed his “condolences” and “spiritual closeness” to the parents of Indi Gregory, the eight-month year old British girl who died last month after a long legal battle.

In a telegram dated Friday, 1 December, the date of her funeral, Pope Francis wrote that he was "saddened to learn of the death of little Indi Gregory", and that he sent his condolences to “her parents, Dean and Claire, and to all who mourn the loss of this precious child of God.”

The message, signed by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, continues: “Entrusting Indi into the tender and loving hands of our Heavenly Father, His Holiness joins those gathered for her funeral in thanking Almighty God for the gift of her all-too-short life.”

"He likewise prays," the Pope concludes, "that the Lord Jesus, who said to His disciples, ‘Let the little children come to me… for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs’ (Mt 19:14), will grant abiding comfort, strength, and peace to you all."

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