A few words about Mike
My brother Mike Atack was 35 when he died on the 4th of July 2012. His passing was completely unexpected. An undetected tumour in his heart was thought to be a case of pneumonia until treatment failed. Emergency surgery revealed what ailed Mike; then a few hours later he was gone.
He had married Bethan, his girlfriend of some 5 years, a mere 3 weeks before. He was a gregarious, honest and extremely popular man. The shock left his whole family, and everyone who knew and worked with him, reeling.
And that’s that. Mike wasn’t one for beating around the bush, so I’m not going to – and perhaps it’s worthwhile if I speak some difficult truths. His death wasn’t ‘tragic’, at least not in the purest sense of the word. His passing wasn’t long, painful, degrading or unjust, as so many are. His condition was unknown to him, and incurable. In fact one of the most bewildering things for those of us who loved him has been the complete lack of anyone, or anything, to blame or rail against. My Dad put it best: the whole thing was just terrible, rotten bad luck.
No, this isn’t about Mike dying. It’s about the great things he did whilst he was alive, and how that rotten bad luck has deprived us of a lifetime of his humour, generosity, and belief in creativity.
So in setting up the Mike Atack Trust, we’re hoping to redress this. We want to keep Mike’s spirit alive in the place he worked – and put simply, we want to give that bad luck a thoroughly good kicking, in whatever way we can.
About the ideas behind the trust
Mike was a musician, technician and mentor. He’d been at Rawlins Academy in Quorn, Leicestershire, for close to a decade and had proved himself so much more than a music and media tech. His attitude was clear and consistent: that if you worked hard at something you loved, if you used your initiative, you could make things better for yourself and, by extension, those around you. Being a musician had changed Mike’s life.
Drumming – and the disciplines involved in becoming a remarkably proficient drummer – had played an enormous part in turning him from a sometimes difficult teenager into the gentleman everyone knew. And so Mike took those lessons and passed them on to the young people he worked with, making sure they had the tools they needed, and he insisted those tools were used openly, imaginatively, and with respect.
Growing up, my brother and I were lucky enough to attend a school very much like Rawlins, a place which encouraged this kind of big-thinking in the performing arts. We organised rock concerts, made our own short films, at one point we even set up a record label and printed a vinyl run of the soundtrack to one of my shows (remember vinyl, kids? No? Oh, OK. Now I feel old.) We did all of this with the help and guidance of our teachers, peers, and whatever funds we could scrape together.
The idea that we could ask for help or support if our ideas were good enough was present and correct, every day. The Mike Atack Trust will ask the same of the students it supports: tell us what you want to do, explain why and how you want to do it, and the Trust will do its very best to help.
So, thanks for reading this far. At the top of this page you’ll see links to what we fund, how, and when, as well as how to get in touch with us – and in time we also hope to fill this site full of pages and pages of stories, sounds and films. Watch this space…
- Tim Atack