Charity cycle challenge raises £5,000 in memory of PC Mick Atkinson
Friends of a police dog handler who took his own life last year have raised over £5,000 as they gear up to complete a charity bike ride in his memory.
A group of 80 people will be cycling from Scarborough to Leeds to honour PC Mick Atkinson, 37, who died suddenly on October 7.
Mr Atkinson's best friend Pierre Olesqui has organised the challenge in his honour but to also help spread the word about mental health.
The 106.6-mile ride, Michael's police collar number, will begin at Scarborough Police Station and finish at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, on Friday June 14 starting at 6am.
PC Pierre Olesqui, who now works of Harrogate police station, said: "My best friend Michael “AKY” Atkinson was an amazing person who cared for all around him, unfortunately he took his own life in October 2018.
"He did two rides for two charities a few years ago and he always said how proud he was and how challenging they were.
"This is why I have organised this bike ride to challenge myself in the same way in his memory."
Michael and Pierre met at Scarborough Police station and have been close ever since. Michael was even Pierre's best man at his wedding.
There will be around 80 riders along with a team of support personnel taking part on the ride including police officers, family, friends as well as people who have heard about the reason for the event and wanted to join in.
"Aky who was loved by all around him is greatly missed and has two charities in 'Mind' and 'Leeds Rhinos Foundation'. We plan to raise as much money as possible which will then be split between his charities," Pierre added.
Donations for the 'Tour de AKY' can be made on the fundraising page.
Michael was described as "well-liked and much respected member of the team" at North Yorkshire Police.
North Yorkshire Chief Constable, Lisa Winward, said: “Mick was a distinguished officer and had been part of the North Yorkshire Police family for 17 years.
"He started his service as Police Constable in Scarborough and then moved into the Dog Support Unit and became a handler.
"He was a well-liked and much respected member of the team and of our wider policing family and his loss will be felt profoundly."