Hundreds attend charity rugby match for Leeds police dog handler

More than 800 people turned up to a charity rugby league match in honour of PC Mick Atkinson.

By Joe Cooper
Monday, 22nd April 2019, 4:53 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 5:49 pm
Player's gave a minute's applause before the match in memory of PC Mick Atkinson.
Player's gave a minute's applause before the match in memory of PC Mick Atkinson.

Friend Danny Elston, who helped organised the day, said: "It was absolutely amazing. So many people turned up.

"This was for Mick and the kids. It was a fitting tribute."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

PC Mick Atkinson.

Mr Atkinsonm, from Oulton, tragically took his own life in October 2018 after health issues meant he was unable to return to the job that he loved.

The 37-year-old - a huge fan of both Leeds Rhinos and Leeds United - had worked as a dog handler with the police.

Hundreds of people turned out at Oulton Raiders ARLFC on a hot Easter Sunday to watch the Raiders' Over 35's take on the Police Rugby League team.

The Raiders won 36-18, overseen by renowned referee Ben Thaler, with a minute's applause before the start.

The match was played in three games of 20 minutes, with Mr Atkinson's stepsons Max and Harry kicking off at the start of each.

Legendary Leeds Rhinos centre Keith Senior attended, as did Rhino's CEO Gary Hetherington.

More than £4,000 was raised, which will be split between a fund for Mr Atkinson's daughter Elizabeth, mental health charity Mind and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

Mr Elston, who was helped out by Mr Atkinson during a dark time, scored the first try.

"It was a really good day all round," he added. "It's definitely an option for us to do something like this again."

Mr Atkinson, who had a baby with his partner shortly before he died, was coach of the Hunslet Warriors under eights rugby league side and a regular at Leeds Rhinos matches.

An inquest in March heard he 'dreaded' the prospect of working in an office after spending more than 10-years as a dog handler with North Yorkshire Police.