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Gboyega Odubanjo: Family concerned for safety of missing London poet

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, who was attending Shambala in Northamptonshire (Supplied )
Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, who was attending Shambala in Northamptonshire (Supplied )

The family of an award-winning London poet who vanished at a festival four days ago say they are desperate for information and concerned for his safety.

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, who had a “heart full of kindness”, was attending Shambala in Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire, where he had been due to perform on Saturday morning.

Police said that Mr Odubanjo, from Dagenham, is 5ft 6in, wears glasses, has short black dreadlocks and a full-face beard.

He was last seen at about 4am on Saturday and was described as wearing a red and white striped gilet with black clothing underneath. Mr Odubanjo also had a cream-coloured bucket hat, black trousers and dark coloured shoes.

In a statement, relatives appealed with “heavy hearts and profound concern to help us find our beloved son” who “means the world to our family”.

Describing the poet as “loving and caring”, they added: “He has a warm and infectious personality, a contagious smile and a heart full of kindness.

“We believe that Gboyega’s disappearance is entirely out of character for him and we are genuinely worried for his safety and wellbeing.

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, is described as “loving and caring with a heart full of kindness
Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, is described as “loving and caring with a heart full of kindness" (Tice Cin / X)

“No piece of information is too small, and your help could be the key to bringing him back to us.

“We pray for Gboyega’s safe return and for the strength to endure this challenging time.”

Mr Odubanjo, who was at the festival with friends, last used his Monzo bank card at a Transport for London station on Friday.

He is studying for his PhD in creative writing at the University of Hertfordshire and works as an editor for Bad Betty Press and the poetry magazine Bath Magg. Mr Odubanjo won the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020 for his pamphlet Aunty Uncle Poems and has also won an Eric Gregory award from the Society of Authors.

His forthcoming collection, Adam, explores reported inequality when it comes to searching for missing black children in the UK.

Best friend Tice Cin, the novelist and filmmaker, told the Standard: “Gboyega’s latest work is quite poignant because he has always been trying to help change the narrative and make sure this doesn’t happen to people.

“He is the light of my life. We need help bringing him home, nobody deserves to go missing in a society with all the resources to find our loved ones.

“Help us to find this brilliant kind man, the type of man who you can ring at 3am when your back is hurting and you can’t sleep. His future is so bright and we must rally together to bring him back to where he is loved and safe.”

Shambala, which takes place at Kelmarsh Hall, hosts poetry performances as well as those by musicians, comedians and speakers.

Northamptonshire Police said the force is pursuing all lines of enquiry and the case remains a missing person investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers on 101, quoting reference number MPD1/2619/23.