Ex-EastEnders star's baby son reunited with teddy bear thanks to help of Wolverhampton community

A toddler has been reunited with his teddy bear, after losing it while watching his father turn on the Christmas lights in Wolverhampton.

Gian Luca Greco, who was born premature, and was soothed by his teddy in hospital
Gian Luca Greco, who was born premature, and was soothed by his teddy in hospital

Actor Michael Greco, who played Beppe di Marco in EastEnders, was turning on the city's Christmas lights alongside his fellow cast members in the Grand's pantomime, Aladdin.

Michael's partner, Helen Harris, travelled all the way from Hertfordshire with their young son so they could watch the special occasion, not realising that they would lose a beloved member of the family in the process.

When the family got back to their hotel after the lights had been switched on, Helen and Michael realised that their son, Gianluca Greco, was missing his special teddy bear.

The teddy after its adventure in Wolverhampton. Photo: Enjoy Wolverhampton

"I thought, 'I can't believe this, we can't lose Teddy. What can I do?'" Helen said.

The brown Teddy comforter had somehow got lost during the busy festive event and she was at a loss as what to do.

Even worse was that the whole family felt incredibly sentimental about Teddy, as he played a pivotal role in Gianluca's early life.

"He was in Great Ormond Street as a baby," Helen said.

"For the first two months of his life. We'd put the teddy on his head to calm him.

"He was quite tiny. He was born six weeks premature because he had gastroschisis, where the bowel is outside the body, so they had to get him out very quickly.

"We went from University College Hospital straight to Great Ormond Street. He had more surgeries in the first few months of his life than most people have in a lifetime."

So faced with the loss of Teddy, Helen racked her brains to find a way to reunite her son, who is now sixteen and a half months old, with Teddy.

"I went onto Facebook. There were lots of groups I couldn't join but one called Community let me put a message on, asking if anyone had seen Teddy.

"People were saying if anyone can find it, 'Enjoy Wolverhampton' can," she said.

"There was a number for them on Facebook, so I contacted them on Whatsapp, not expecting to find Teddy. They said they'd have to check."

To Helen's surprise, Enjoy Wolverhampton managed to find Teddy very quickly with the help of Wolverhampton Council's environmental service.

Steve Nightingale from Wolverhampton Council and (right) Shaun Boyce from Enjoy Wolverhampton. Photo: Enjoy Wolverhampton.

"It was so sweet. They took a picture posing with him," she said. "I cried. They were so amazing.

"They dropped him off with Michael who was rehearsing in the town centre right at that moment.

"I daren't take it anywhere now," she laughed.

Michael Greco with city ambassador Suzie Lavender and Heidi Wall-Holden. Photo: Enjoy Wolverhampton

Helen's post has now been shared over 300 times on Facebook, leaving her completely in awe at the sense of community in Wolverhampton.

"I tried to reply to every message, but there were so many," she said. "You have such an incredible community. This would never happen back home.

"There are a lot of amazing people around here."

Michael Greco in rehearsal for Aladdin at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Photo: Graeme Braidwoo.

Michael is in Aladdin at the Wolverhampton Grand from Saturday, December 3 until January 7.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News