Tour de Aky: £10,000 raised in memory of North Yorkshire Police officer Mick 'Aky' Atkinson
More than 90 friends, colleagues and relatives of a former Scarborough police officer got on their bikes to raise money in his memory.
PC Mick 'Aky' Atkinson died by suicide in October 2018, leaving his loved ones devastated.
He had served with North Yorkshire Police for 17 years, starting as a PC in Scarborough and then moving to the Dog Support Unit where he became a handler.
On Saturday, scores of those who knew him took part in a sponsored ride - named 'Tour de Aky’ - to raise awareness of and money for mental health and other charities.
As a nod to his collar number 1066, they tackled 106.6 miles in the sweltering heat.
The group travelled from PC Atkinson's beloved Hunslet Warriors and Elland Road in Leeds, to Kirkby Overblow, Fulford Road Police Station in York, Selby, Castleford and back to Hunslet, stopping by at his parents’ house in-between – all places that meant something to the much-loved officer.
Now in its third year, the date of this year’s event coincided with what would have been PC Atkinson's 40th birthday weekend.
At 20 miles along the route, the group also paused for a moment to remember another much-loved colleague, friend, and fellow officer, Sergeant 0020 Michael Tinsley, from Scarborough, who died last Monday.
The 20 mile-mark was chosen in honour of Sgt Tinsley's collar number, with many of the riders wearing black armbands bearing the number 20 on and his name.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: "Aky was loved by so many people and a larger than life character who would leave a smile on everyone’s face.
"He was our brother in blue and a big part of the North Yorkshire Police family.
"He had been a police officer in North Yorkshire for 17 years and a Dog Handler for over 10 years. A job he absolutely loved doing and was gutted about having to step away from due to injury.
"He was also the last person that you would think was dealing with the demons that he was dealing with – to say we were shocked to get that news that day would be an understatement
"Nothing prepares you for losing a loved one, friend, family member or colleague to suicide.
"And that’s why it’s so important that we all continue to talk about suicide, end the stigma that surrounds it and encourage conversations around achieving good mental health."
To date, the Tour de Aky has raised nearly £40,000 for charities. The profits generated by this year’s event will go to Mind, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, and Macmillan Cancer Support.
To donate to the Tour de Aky fund, visit GoFundMe.