Hereford teen returning to Turkey on hunt for lost bear

Lauren Hartless thinks she left the bear in a hotel bed after visiting the popular Mediterranean country, but despite calling the resort she has been unable to locate it.

Granuts Bear has been a hugely important figure in the 19-year-old’s life having been given to her by St Michael’s Hospice when she was just five.


At the time, the hospice was caring for the teen’s grandad, Brian. The charity has a tradition, which is still honoured today, of handing teddy bears to patients to distribute to younger loved ones so that it provides tangible memory which often lasts years.

“The loss of the bear has impacted us greatly because he meant so much,” said Ali Hartless, Lauren’s mum.

“The bear had never left her side since the day it was given her.

“My dad was Lauren’s world, and where my dad would have been present, Granuts Bear filled his place; Lauren’s first nativity, her first sports day, and so on. It has helped mend all our hearts in one way or another.”

Hereford Times: 'Granuts' never left Lauren Hartless' side‘Granuts’ never left Lauren Hartless’ side (Image: St Michael’s Hospice)

The bear had travelled everywhere with Lauren, most recently residing at Birmingham University.

“It’s funny how such a small thing has had such a profound impact, bringing endless love and comfort to us all, but particularly Lauren,” Ms Hartless added.

After realising ‘Granuts Bear’ – derived from the name Lauren lovingly called her relative – had been left on holiday, the family made a desperate effort to get him back.

“We’ve embarked on extensive investigation including phone calls and contact with anyone visiting the same hotel, as well as asking tour operators and local taxi services which visit the hotel,” said Ms Hartless.

“It’s a long shot but we have booked a return holiday to try and find Granuts. We will never give up.”

However, there has been some good news for Lauren since Granuts’ disappearance.

Hereford Times: Lauren and Ali Hartless with the bearLauren and Ali Hartless with the bear (Image: St Michael’s Hospice)

The hospice relies on a number of volunteers to knit jumpers for the teddies. After hearing of Lauren’s distress, Jenny Macklin, and her niece, Yvette, helped create a replica jumper which was donated to Lauren and her mum during a visit to the Bartestree-based charity.  

“I can’t thank St Michael’s enough,” said Lauren.

“It felt like I lost a part of me when I left the original bear in Turkey. He’d been with me nearly all my life and meant so much.

“It’s just so heart-warming to know that even though it’s been years since my grandad was at St Michael’s, that love and care for us as a family is still there.”

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