For our company, one of those people is the late John Hurt.
While it may seem strange for a meadery to eulogize a British actor best known for having an alien burst through his chest, our earliest experience of the work of Sir Hurt comes from a vastly different genre: Jim Henson's The Storyteller.
The Storyteller was most delightful show that mixed myth and legend, fact and fiction, puppets and live action, all to the hypnotic tones of John Hurt. The stories are beautiful, and it is likely that nothing like them will ever be made again.
Here is a true story about The Storyteller.
Long ago, when the world was not quite so ancient, there lived a little boy who would grow up to be Ricky the Meadmaker. When Ricky was very, very little he was afraid of many things. He was afraid of the dark. He was afraid of loud noises. He was afraid of owls.
Most of all, he was afraid of being afraid.
Then, one day, Ricky watched a scary show about a Hedgehog named Hans. He was so taken by the voice of the narrator that he forgot that he was scared. Ricky got all the way to the end of the show and learned that there was a happy ending.
Then Ricky learned about a boy named Fearnot who was born without the ability to fear and had to learn this very gift that came so naturally to Ricky.
One by one Ricky watched every episode of the The Storyteller. Then he watched them all again.
When Ricky was a little older he started going to schools around the world to teach storytelling to little ones who might not know how to face their own fears. Sometimes, finding a story helps us tell our own.
Storytelling became Ricky's great passion so he traveled to Denmark and Sweden and Iceland to learn the great Sagas and know the lands that inspired them. Ricky traveled to India to learn the great epics. On every continent he visited, Ricky studied storytelling and tried to teach what little he knew.
Years went by and Ricky decided that it was time to tell his big story. This story was so big that he couldn't tell it by himself. It took Kelly the boss to get it started, then Lillian to become a hero. It took customers to both populate and appreciate the narrative. For in fact, customers are not our supernumeraries, nor are they merely our audience; they are the very lifeblood of our story.
So you see, Sir John Hurt started a story that he never even knew about. Without him, there would be no Groennfell Meadery. There would be no Colchester's Mead Hall. There wouldn't even be Ricky the Meadmaker... not really.
So, thank you to all of you for being part of our story, and a special thank you to Sir John Hurt; you were an incredible man and you will be missed.