Charity cycle ride from Scarborough to Leeds in memory of police dog handler Mick Atkinson

'Aky' on a charity bike ride a few years ago
'Aky' on a charity bike ride a few years ago

A group of 80 people are gearing up to complete a charity bike ride in memory of a police dog handler who began his career in Scarborough and raise awareness of mental health.

PC Mick Atkinson, 37, died suddenly on October 7 and now Pierre Olesqui has organised the event in honour of his best friend.

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."

Pierre has set a fundraising target of £5,000 for the ride and has almost raised £3,500 - with just four weeks to go.

Pierre and Mick

Pierre and Mick

Michael and Pierre met at Scarborough Police station and have known each other 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 at www.gofundme.com/f/aky-cycle-ride-1066miles

5 from each sale will be donated to Mind and Leeds Rhinos Foundation

5 from each sale will be donated to Mind and Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Support t-shirts are also on sale, until May 26, and £5 from every sale will be donated the two charities. You can buy t-shirts here.

The message behind the ride is also important to North Yorkshire Police officers who are remembering Mick.

Many officers are helping spread the word about mental health using #itsoktotalk such as Roads Policing Sargent Paul Cording during Mental Health Awareness Week.

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."