Although lately I've heard kind words regarding my Michael Praed website, there is no way I could have done this alone. There are many, many people who helped me at various forks along the road, and many people to thank for their valuable assistance.
First and foremost, of course, is Michael Praed himself. He has a multitude of talents and qualities. For example, worldwide viewers who have seen just his television series 'Robin of Sherwood' or 'The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne' may be unaware that Michael has a beautiful singing voice and is a well-regarded leading man of London's West End musicals. Along with a dedication to honing his craft, Michael has personal characteristics that set him apart. The more I've seen, the more I've appreciated his self-discipline, his tenacity, his willingness to confront personal challenges, his eagerness to chance the consequences and face new experiences, and his sharp (and often self-deprecating) sense of humor. (To balance out those glowing attributes is a self-professed lazy streak, but personally I'm willing to overlook that little flaw in the face of everything else!) Michael feels sincere concern for the well-being of people around him, which is clearly obvious to anyone who speaks with him. Michael's faith in his friends became apparent when he accepted the suggestion from Kate Raymond, the head of his former fan club, to acknowledge me as the head of a new official fan club and website, despite the fact he didn't know me.
With the support of Michael's friends and fans, I intend to prove that confidence was not misplaced.
Kate Raymond is someone else that I owe much. Kate and her partner Morn Geiger founded Michael's first official fan club Michael Praed Network Newsletter (or MPNN) in the early 1990s. Kate and Morn worked tirelessly to help Michael and his fans over the years. I value not only their priceless help in launching my own fan club, but their friendship as well.
I also owe a huge debt to Janet Reedman, organizer of the successful 'Robin of Sherwood' Silver Arrow conventions in Bristol, who patiently answered many of my early questions when no one else did, passed along answers from Michael, gave me her valuable opinions on what I was doing, and encouraged me every step of the way.
Another huge source of inspiration was fan Loralee Thompson, who created the website 'Chest Hair Moments' with the help of Vicci Varner. Loralee passed away in 2003, but her humor, imagination, and passion lives on in the hearts of many Michael Praed fans. This whole website is a tribute of sorts to Loralee.
Christine Haire Alexander, leader of 'Robin of Sherwood's' official fan club 'Spirit of Sherwood', and her webmistress Tirza van Rijn also provided me with precious help and insight. They kindly included a link to www.michael-praed.com on their own popular website, and introduced me to 'Robin of Sherwood' online communities. I've always found their suggestions wise. Their cooperation and continuing encouragement is very gratifying.
I would be remiss to neglect the contributions and/or encouragement from co-stars and writers involved with Michael Praed at one time or another: Leigh Zimmerman, Mark Ryan, Robert Addie, Carl Djerrasi, Caroline Lawrence, George R.R. Martin, and Abbie Bernstein. Among the enormously talented people I've met, online or otherwise, thanks to Michael Praed are Atsuko O'gawa, Frances Quinn, Duane O. Myers, Ashley McConnell, Glenna McReynolds, and Ebe Kastein.
Thanks also goes to bighearted Gerry James, Carole Welsh and all the crew at the Michael Praed Yahoo Group hosted by Paula (a.k.a. "Meg of Wickham'). More thanks go to Becky (a.k.a. "Ephian"), hostess of the uproarious The Two Evil Monks' Guide to 'The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne' website and the SAJV Fans Yahoo Group, which has a membership as interesting as their namesake.
And lastly, my gratitude is offered to Sarah Macht, who loaned me her home-recorded 'Robin of Sherwood' videotapes 20 years ago, and my cousin Becky McKee who handed them to me saying "You ought to see this show, Celeste. I think you'd like it. It's got a great cast."
How right you were!
PS. Since I've thanked everyone else, "Thank you, New Zealand." (Yes, you, Jo! You'll never know...)