The funeral of baby Indi Gregory was held in Nottingham’s Catholic Cathedral on Friday.
Her father, Dean Gregory, paid a moving tribute to his daughter who died on November 13 aged 8 months.
She passed away from an incurable genetic mitochondrial condition after the UK courts refused to allow her to be transferred to Rome for experimental treatment, despite the Italian government offering to fund it and granting her citizenship.
Mr Gregory paid tribute to his “beautiful warrior” and described her as “not only beautiful” but “strong and unique”.
“I just knew, from the start, she was very special,” he said.
“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. Yet, it was her weakest point, her health problems, that distinguished Indi as a true warrior.”
In the weeks leading up to her death, her parents fought a fierce legal battle against the decision of doctors to stop her treatment. The courts repeatedly ruled against them and finally against their wish to take Indi home to die.
“The strength she had for an 8-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,” Mr Gregory continued.
“She had to fight to live from day one of her life. I was even willing to go down into the pits of hell to fight and to protect Indi. In a way I did, because the court system itself felt like being in hell to me.
“Yet, Indi was an 8-month-old baby that had the power to touch millions of people’s hearts around the world. She inspired love, and nowhere more than Italy.
“In fact, I’m sure Indi is as proud as I am for the amazing support and love shown by the Italian government, the Italian prime minister and the Italian people. I strongly believe they were Indi’s guardian angels during the legal battle to save her.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sent a letter of condolence to her family on the day of the funeral, calling Indi a “little lioness” and saying that her memory would “live on”.
While she described Indi’s life as “too short”, she said it was “long enough for your daughter to remind people everywhere that every life, every single life, no matter how imperfect it may seem to the world, is a treasure to be cherished”.
“From today, she will no longer be in your arms, and you will no longer be able to be enchanted by her smile, but Indi will live on, because, as [Italian Catholic speaker] Chiara Corbella Petrillo taught us, we are born and we shall never die,” she wrote.
Pope Francis also sent a message of condolence in which he said he “joins those gathered in thanking Almighty God for the gift of her all-too-short life”.