Police officers pay tribute to PC Mick Atkinson from Leeds who died one year ago today
Police officers have paid tribute to PC Mick Atkinson to mark one year since he died.
PC Mick 'Aky' Atkinson, 37, took his own life after suffering health problems which resulted in him no longer being able to do the job he loved with North Yorkshire Police.
Mr Atkinson, from Leeds, worked as a dog handler in the Dog Support Unit with North Yorkshire Police for more than 10 years before he began to suffer from arthritis in one of his knees which caused a prolonged absence from work.
He planned to go back in an office-based role, a prospect he said he was dreading after facing front line action for more than a decade with his beloved dogs, but he was found dead the day before he was due to return.
Since his death, his colleagues have organised various charity events to remember Mr Atkinson, known as Aky, and to raise money and awareness around mental health.
Almost £15,000 was raised a cycle ride, dubbed the Tour de Aky, which took place on Friday, June 14, starting at Scarborough police station and finishing at Headingley Stadium.
Donations and offers of support came from across the country, with people who never knew PC Atkinson, but were moved by his story, signing up to the ride.
The money raised was split between mental health charity Mind and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.
His colleagues took to social media today to pay tribute to their friend a year on from his death.
St Paul Cording said: "Can’t believe it’s a year since we lost our friend & colleague PC Mick ‘Aky’ Atkinson. My thoughts are with all Mick’s family, friends & colleagues #1066 #ItsOkNotToBeOk #MentalHealthMatters"
CSI Mike Crockford added: "Remembering and honouring one of our own. PC1066 Mick 'Aky' Atkinson a dog handler a brother in blue and a dear friend to all who worked with him. #ItsOkNotToBeOk"
North Yorkshire Police Federation posted a Facebook tribute to PC Atkinson.
The organisation said: "A year ago today we lost one of our own. Our colleague, our friend and to use his own words “a true legend” (he had a good sense of humour as we all know).
"So many of you have done amazing work and fund raising around the country to raise the awareness of mental health in his name.
"This is his legacy, Aky will never be forgotten.
"Rest In Peace big lad