Tour de Aky 2021, raising money and awareness about mental health

26 May 2021

Tour de Aky is a charity event that started in memory of Mick “Aky” Atkinson a police officer that took his life in October 2018, following mental health problems.

2021 will feature the 3rd event, and will be a cycle tour through West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.

  • Tour de Aky 2021
  • 106.6 miles around West and North Yorkshire
  • 17 July 2021
  • Over 80 riders taking part

Pierre Olesqui was a close friend of Aky and put this event together, that is much more than just raising money for charity.

Pierre said:

I transferred up to Scarborough in 2001 from the Metropolitan Police, at the same time as Aky joined North Yorkshire. We were similar ages, he would have been 40 this year.

I worked a few years with him in Scarborough, but his passion was always to work with dogs, and he was fantastic as a dog handler.

He introduced me to Rugby League, a sport that I now adore, he even took me to my first game. From there we used to spend hours together watching the Rhinos, we used to play golf together and football at the weekend.

We were good mates. In the police force you make a lot of acquaintances, but you make fewer friends. He was even the best man at my wedding. But he was one of those people that his name went throughout North Yorkshire (police).

Pierre Olesqui was a close friend of Aky
Pierre Olesqui was a close friend of Aky

Aky had a period of poor health and had been away from work.

Pierre said:

He had problems with his knees and been away from work for about a year. He needed an operation on his knees, that was getting him down, but he always downplayed any problems he had, including the demons he was battling.

His knees weren’t going to allow him back on the dog section when he returnd.

He took his own life in October 2018, or lost his battle with mental health. In the past I have struggled to use the words that he had taken his own life.

I can still remember the day very clearly, like to was yesterday.  I had been to the family swim at Knaresborough Swimming pool, and came out to about 15 missed calls.

He was the one person that I would never, never of guessed. He spoke to me about the future and everything seemed right for him and his family – he had an 18-month old at the time.

Pierre runs a yearly event in memory of Aky. Initially that was a golf day, but that then became a cycle race between Leeds and Scarborough, a distance of 106.6 miles, Aky’s collar number was 1066.

Pierre said:

Aky had himself had done two cycle rides for charity himself, and he was very proud of them.

I thought that was a good idea instead of the golf day. We took his collar number and came up with 106.6 miles. That’s a distance that is a challenge for most people.

The next thing we wanted to do was to incorporate places on the route that would have meant something to him.

The first year we started in Scarborough, where we worked, then Filey Golf Club, York Police Station and to Leeds United Stadium. We passed his mum and dads, and his old school. The first year we finished at Headingly and had a lap of honour around the ground.

It was a really good event and many people just went out and bought a cycle and had a go. We had someone that had only ever cycled 15-miles and they cycled the whole distance from Scarborough to York.

During that first year I met lots of his mates and heard stories about him. It was a great day.

In 2019 we did Scarborough to Leeds and in 2020 we did Leeds to Scarborough. This year we have worked on the logistics and have a route from Hunslow Warriers, out to Otley, York and to Leeds.

Last year we had planned for a music event, but we had to cancel that. We are hopeful with having a base at Hunslow we can do that this year.

We have raised over £2,000 for Mind, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Macmillan. They are all charities that help people when they are in perhaps a dark place, and that’s what this is about. They are all charities that have a link to Aky and his family.

See the gofundme page

The 2021 route:

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