HE thought it was a tax demand so he left it unopened.
But when poet Simon Armitage finally got round to opening the envelope marked Cabinet Office, he found he had been honoured by the Queen.
The Marsden-born poet becomes a Commander of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours today.
Mr Armitage, 47, receives the award for his outstanding services to literature.
Mr Armitage, was a former supermarket shelf stacker and then probation worker before his literary career took off.
He has received numerous awards for his poetry and his novels.
In 2000 he was the UK’s official Millennium Poet and he has also been making his name in the music world.
He has just had his latest collection of poetry published and later this month sets off on a poet’s trip along the Pennine Way.
He will walk the famous footpath over three weeks, giving poetry readings at every stop.
“I’m a wanderer rather than a walker, but it is something I’m looking forward to,” said Armitage.
“I’m very excited by the honour but also very flattered.
“When the envelope came it was marked Cabinet Office and I thought it was a tax demand, so I left it until I got back from a few days away.
“I have always thought of the honours system as a bit like the dark side of the moon; no-one really knows what goes on.
“I have no idea who nominated me but I am very flattered. I think I work hard at what I do and I’m pleased that my efforts have been recognised.
“I think a lot of my work is aimed at the ordinary man. I’m a communicator and I want to have connections with my readership and an audience.
“I do think I’m more open as a poet than many”.
He is married to Sue and the couple live in the Holme Valley. In his spare time, he is a keen fan of Huddersfield Town and Huddersfield Giants.