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Hughes buried in home village

ABOUT 200 mourners gathered at a village church in Devon yesterday to pay last respects to the Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, who died last week of cancer, aged 68.

The funeral service - at St Peter's Church in Hughes's home village of North Tawton - was addressed by the poet Seamus Heaney, a winner of the Nobel prize for literature, who described his death as "a rent in the veil of poetry". He said Hughes was "simply beloved" and "a tower of tenderness and strength".

At the request of Hughes,'s widow, Carol, Heaney read Dylan Thomas's poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, and two of Hughes's own poems, Go Fishing and The Day He Died.

Mourners were also addressed by the Rev Terence McCaughey, who had known Hughes since they were students at Cambridge University. Mr McCaughey, a teacher at Trinity College, Dublin, said friends, associates, fellow artists and neighbours who gathered in the church had "along the way been touched somehow, sometime by this remarkable man. He had so much to say, and the world will be fertilised and enriched by what he wrote."

Mr McCaughey spoke of the poet's "vitality and exuberance", but said he also "knew there was a time to be reticent in the use of words".

The Rev Mark Butchers, who led the service, said they had gathered "to give thanks for what he gave the world through his poetry".

Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate in 1984 by the Queen. Earlier this month, she awarded him the Order of Merit, an honour for distinguished achievement limited at any one time to 24 people.

He was married to Carol, his second wife, for 28 years.