A SEA of blue and pink was on show as hundreds – including a Hollywood superstar – attended the funeral of a mum-of-one who died following a brave battle with cancer.

Family and friends, including celebrated actress Kate Winslet, packed Accrington Cemetery to celebrate the life of much-loved ‘Rossendale girl’ Gemma Nuttall.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The 29-year-old, who died at the start of October, leaves her four-year-old daughter Penelope.

Her story touched the hearts of thousands when it was revealed she delayed having chemotherapy during her pregnancy so Penelope could live.

At her funeral, family described Gemma as a spirited girl who was full of adventure as a child.

Lancashire Telegraph:

She had a love of running and was passionate about horses – and fitting tribute was made to this as two white horses dressed in pink and blue pulled Gemma’s coffin into the cemetery.

Mourners entered the cemetery chapel to Beyonce’s song Halo.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Gemma’s older brother Andrew said it was ‘the best thing ever’ to have her as a sister, saying the pair were inseparable growing up.

He added: “They say once a piece of paper is crumpled, you can open it up but it can never be smooth again. This will be my life without Gemma.”

In 2014, Gemma found out she was pregnant, and it was also at this time she discovered the devastating news that she had ovarian cancer.

The former Haslingden High School pupil was given the option to have a termination so she could start life-saving treatment, but she delayed it until after she gave birth.

Following the birth of Penelope, Gemma endured months of gruelling chemotherapy, before being given the all-clear in 2017.

Lancashire Telegraph:

But a while later she was told the devastating news that her cancer had returned and spread.

Throughout her quest for a cure, Gemma’s mum Helen Sproates worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness to get her daughter to Germany for treatment not yet available in the UK. Her journey captured the hearts of many, not least Hollywood film star Ms Winslet, who became heavily involved in fundraising efforts – even recruiting fellow Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio to help.

The 43-year-old travelled in the cortege with Gemma’s closest friends and family to the funeral, alongside her husband Ned Rocknroll.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Paying tribute to Gemma, Ms Winslet said: “It is a privilege to be able to give Gemma the send-off she deserves at the end of her incredible fight.

“As a young mum Gemma’s extraordinary determination to beat her cancer for Penelope was something that deeply moved me and made me want to help.

“She was so clearly a fighter. She fought her battle and against all odds she kept proving them wrong.

“The fundraising had been a phenomenal success and Helen’s initial efforts to send Gemma to Germany for immunotherapy treatment hadn’t been in vain. For a while it worked.

“But even though that has not been the case and even though Gemma didn’t quite make it to 30, she did make it to Penelope’s first second, third and fourth birthdays and to her first day of big school.

“They were also able to have some magical memories together which doctors thought would be impossible.

“In truth Gemma lived for at least 18 months longer than her specialists believed. She had more time with her family.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Speaking about the legacy that Gemma leaves, Ms Winslet added: “We have formed a foundation, which will be called the Gemma Rose foundation and our plan is to raise funds to treat and to help people with the kinds of treatment Gemma had in Germany.”

After the service, mourners watched as Gemma’s family released two white doves.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Paying tribute to Gemma’s mother Helen, Kate added: “You Helen are an amazing lady and Gemma was as blessed to have you as you were to have her.

“The bond between the two of you will never be broken. And even though I haven’t known you long I can say that from the deepest part of my heart.”