An invitation to meet the Queen was accidentally tossed into the bin by pensioner Clifford Newton, who assumed it was just another piece of Junk Mail.
The 88 year old only realised his mistake after receiving a phone call from Buckingham Palace, checking why he had failed to respond. The pensioner, who hails from Shepshed in Leicestershire said “I got the letter two weeks ago and I thought ‘what’s this?’
“I looked at the envelope and wondered how many other people had received the same. I opened it and thought it was junk mail so threw it away.
“Someone phoned me up from Buckingham Palace asking why I hadn’t responded and I had to get a faxed copy from the church.
“When the Palace rang I said: ‘You are having me on’.
“All of this has taught me not to throw any of my mail away.”
It is an annual tradition for the Queen to present gifts of ‘Maundy Money’ to recipients who have been nominated by their church or community, usually for outstanding service.
Those selected are always retired pensioners, and recommendations come from clergy and ministers of all denominations.
Mr Newton, a retired hosiery worker, often listens to children read at nearby St Botolph’s Church of England Primary school, as well as helping out with the Shepsted open garden event, which raises money for good causes.
Clifford said “I’m not sure why I have been picked but I think it may be because I set an example.”
“I feel very humbled to have been chosen for this.
“I never thought I would be meeting the Queen and am still not quite sure why I was chosen.
“My daughter Stephanie Young is coming with me and it will be a proud moment.
“I’ve got to dress very smart, though I would love to wear my Leicester Tigers shirt, I think the Queen would laugh.
“There will be a lot of pageantry and it will be absolutely fantastic.”
Maundy money consists of a red purse with a £5 coin, which commemorates the centenary of the House of Windsor, and a 50p coin that represents Sir Isaac Newton.
In addition, the pensioners are handed a white purse which has 9 pouches inside holding unique ‘Maundy money’. Every pouch has a 1p, 2p, 3p and a 4p coin inside – plus an extra 1p coin to add up to 91.