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

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

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February with a rare mitochondrial disease, was at the centre of a legal fight before her life-support treatment was withdrawn and she died at a hospice in the early hours of November 13.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

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 funeral
Indi Gregory’s mother, Claire Staniforth (centre), is comforted following her daughter’s funeral (Joe Giddens/PA)

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”.

Indi Gregory funeral
Indi Gregory’s father Dean Gregory (front) carries the coffin of his daughter into St Barnabus Cathedral, Nottingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

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 court case
Indi Gregory was at the centre of a court battle over treatment (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 Gregory funeral
Indi died shortly after her life-support treatment was withdrawn after her parents lost legal bids in the High Court and Court of Appeal (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.”

Indi Gregory funeral
The horse-drawn hearse carrying the coffin of baby Indi Gregory (Joe Giddens/PA)

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.”

Indi Gregory funeral
The service was led by Bishop Patrick McKinney (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.

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.”