Alongside TS Eliot and Edward Lear, the memorial to Hughes

westminster abbey poets corner. Ted Hughes memorial been laid in front of the T.S. Eliot stone
westminster abbey poets corner. Ted Hughes memorial been laid in front of the T.S. Eliot stone

PART of a letter former poet laureate Ted Hughes wrote to tragic wife Sylvia Plath was among the works read as he was given a place in Westminster Abbey last night.

A memorial to Mytholmroyd’s most famous son was unveiled in Poets' Corner after a lengthy campaign for him to be honoured.

His family and leading figures were there.

The letter to Plath dates from October 1956, four months after the couple married, and seven years before she went on to commit suicide.

The memorial stone – at the foot of the memorial to Hughes's mentor TS Eliot – includes an extract from That Morning, taken from his collection of River poems.

It reads: “So we found the end of our journey, So we stood alive in the river of light, Among the creatures of light, creatures of light.”

More than 300 people attended the ceremony, including writers Simon Armitage, Blake Morrison, former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Michael Morpurgo and Graham Swift.

Widow Carol Hughes and daughter Frieda were also there.

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney gave the address and unveiled the stone in the floor of the abbey, which is dedicated to literary greats, among them Edward Lear and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Heaney also read three of Hughes's works – Some Pike For Nicholas, For The Duration and That Morning – while actress Juliet Stevenson read Full Moon And Little Frieda, Anniversary and Where I Sit Writing My Letter.

Lord Evans, a former chairman of Faber and Faber who helped drive support for the memorial, read the letter to American poet Plath.

Authorities at the abbey announced last year that Hughes would be honoured.

There had been a campaign to celebrate Hughes in the abbey, as poets laureate are not automatically recognised.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, gave it the go-ahead in March 2010 after considering his case. The Kirkstone green slate memorial stone is alongside that of Eliot – his Faber and Faber publisher – in the south transept.

The stone was designed by Ronald Parsons, who carved it while listening to recordings of Hughes’s works.

Other great writers who have been recognised at the abbey include the poets laureate John Dryden and John Masefield, who are all buried there, while John Betjeman, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey have memorials.

The writer, born in 1930, found immediate acclaim with his first book of poems, Hawk In The Rain, in 1957.

Over the next 41 years he wrote nearly 90 books, winning numerous prizes.