Family and friends of Harvey Parker have issued an urgent appeal for information after the gifted music student vanished on a night out in London on Thursday.
The 20-year-old university student was last seen alone in the early hours of Friday morning, at around 02:15am, leaving Heaven nightclub by Charing Cross railway station.
He had been to a Lil Simz concert at the O2 Academy in Brixton before heading to the well-known LGBTQ+ nightclub. After he left the venue, CCTV images captured him entering nearby Craven Street and walking south towards the Embankment.
Calls to his mobile phone have gone unanswered and his mother, Amanda Parker, is desperate for any information about his whereabouts.
She told the Metro that she “can’t think of any reason” why Harvey would go missing and said that on the night in question he had changed after the concert at their home in Waterloo before heading back out.
She said that, as Harvey is autistic, he can often misread certain social situations which could make him particularly vulnerable.
“Just before we went to bed Harvey came back and was really upbeat and very positive about the concert and had a good time,” she said.
Harvey Parker, 20, was described as ‘the most wonderful and sensitive young man’ by friends
When Harvey didn’t come back from his night out, Amanda Parker assumed that he had gone to work at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. He didn’t come back in the evening and when she phoned the theatre they said he had missed two shifts.
She said this was “unheard of” and that Harvey would always make it to work, even after going out the night before.
“We alerted the police, we went down to Heaven to see if anyone knew or heard anything to really get the ball rolling,” she added. “We’ve gone to hospitals with his pictures, we’ve phoned every big A&E in London, I’m just beyond words to be honest, I really am.
“Harvey’s very musically accomplished and very academically gifted and really confident. The flute is Harvey’s first instrument, along with the oboe, piano and organ. Harvey’s a phenomenal musician. Harvey is very engaging, has lots of friends and is quirky.
“At the same time Harvey’s very vulnerable and can misread a situation and get overwhelmed.
“Harvey can’t necessarily read social situations and is outgoing – and that’s when autism really comes into play, because what to do next would be a real challenge.”
The University of York second year student is 5ft9, mixed race, with a slim build and short black hair. His step-dad Michael Armstrong said he was “fun” and “talkative” and relatives have said that he would often wear female clothes.
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Artistic Director of the Chineke! Foundation, knows Harvey Parker from his time playing for the Chineke! Junior orchestra. She described him as “the most wonderful and sensitive young man” who had grown up in London and knew his way around the capital.
She told The Independent: “I first came across him when he wrote to me asking to do an audition at around the age of 14/15. I think he was the first and only Chineke! Junior auditionee to arrive on their own. He had come all the way from South East London to West London as a young teenager so I immediately thought that he was of independent spirit.”
Ms Nwanoku said Harvey is a talented musician who plays the flute and oboe to a high level. She added: “At the time of his Chineke! audition he was already post grade 8 on both instruments. He wanted to show us everything that he could possibly bring to Chineke! Junior orchestra and it was fantastic to have, within one person, the opportunity of someone playing flute or oboe depending on what we needed.” “Harvey is a very valued member of the Chineke! Junior Orchestra.”
Before going to university Harvey wrote to Chineke! again in November 2019 to ask for work experience in the communications and administration side of the organisation.
“He turned out to be one of the most outstanding of all the interns we’ve had”, Ms Nwankoku said. “He said he would very much like to have a career in music of some sort and would like to gain experience in this field. He did a really good job, very accurate and efficient. He is focused and just gets on with the task in hand.”
“He is on the autistic spectrum which possibly affects his interactions with people but only in the way of appearing to be quite shy and serious.”
Chi-chi Nwanoku said she was “utterly shocked” by the news of Harvey’s disappearance.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night”, she said. “To not turn up for four days seems completely out of character. In my experience he has attended every single invitation to audition, intern and play with Chineke! Junior Orchestra. I’ve had no reason to doubt that he would not go home again. He’s prompt, he’s efficient at his work, he comes well prepared for everything.
“Harvey is tall with a slim build and has a young-looking sensitive face. We are all praying every minute of the day that we hear that he is safe and sound somewhere.”
Having grown up in London, Harvey is very able to make his way independently around the capital.
“He demonstrated that to me from the very first time I met him,” Ms Nwanoku added. “He is used to London and he trusts London as it is his home. Harvey has wonderful big eyes, and due to his young, innocent, sensitive and vulnerable appearance it’s possible that he could be taken advantage of.”
“I have two children of my own and this is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Music student Harvey Parker left Heaven nightclub at around 02:15am on Friday morning
Headmaster of Westminster School, Gary Savage, said they “deeply concerned to hear of Harvey’s disappearance”.
He said: “Harvey left Westminster just two years ago so is well known by many pupils and teachers. Harvey was an excellent and popular pupil here, and an especially fine musician”. He added that “we are all praying for Harvey’s safe return”.
Harvey’s former housemaster, Tom Edlin, said his old pupil was “kind, gentle and hugely popular”. He described him as a “brilliantly talented musician who played the flute in the school orchestra and the organ for many school occasions and sang in the chamber choir, and who co-founded the music society’s lunchtime recital programme.”
Mr Edlin said Harvey was “at the heart of so many of our House teams in athletics and cross-country… but above all Harvey’s many friends from school will testify to his generosity of spirit, sense of humour and totally genuine character.”
Harvey’s uncle Lyndon Lennon appealed for information on social media saying: “Harvey is my nephew. He is from a loving family and was in good spirits when we last saw him. If anyone was at Heaven night club in Charing Cross on Thursday night please, please think.”
A spokeperson for Theatre Royal Stratford East described Harvey as “a much-loved member of our front of house team”, adding that “this is a very worrying time for their family and friends.”
Detective Sergeant Dick Nation, from the Metropolitan Police, said: ““We have not been able to contact Harvey and his family have still heard nothing from him. There is no reason why he should have gone missing and his family and friends are extremely worried by his disappearance.
“To assist the public, we are releasing images of Harvey from the night he went missing. We know he was last seen on CCTV on Craven Street, walking south towards Embankment. This is a terrible ordeal for Harvey’s family and friends and I would urge anyone who saw him or has any information to contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC. Please quote CAD 3134/18DEC21.