Jon Thaxton and BBC Radio Norfolk’s Chris Goreham help to inspire Norwich youngsters to read

He may be best known for reading a right hook rather than the right book, but Jon Thaxton has helped inspire youngsters to read.

The former European and British lightweight boxer was one of several locally famous male faces to pay a visit to Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School, in Hellesdon, as part of its 'Blokes do Books' week.

Running until Friday, the week is aimed at encouraging the school's pupils, especially the boys, to read more.

Claire Hannant, assistant headteacher at the school, said: 'Jon Thaxton's visit inspired the children and made them realise that someone they usually associate with physical activities also values the importance of books and reading.

'Along with Jon's visit, many Norwich City Football players have given the children information about their favourite books – this is so valuable, reinforcing the message that it is worth learning to read.'

As well as Mr Thaxton, who is now a fitness coach and motivational speaker, the Cottinghams Drive school was also visited by BBC Radio Norfok's Chris Goreham and Heart's Rob Chandler.

Teachers also enlisted the help of pupils' dads, brothers, uncles and granddads.

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The Blokes do Books week is part of a year-long initiative to encourage children to love books and was held this week to coincide with World Book Day tomorrow.

Ms Hannant added: 'The whole week will inspire all of our children, not just the boys, to read as they will have been immersed in stories and exciting books from a variety of adults, not just their usual teachers.'

Boys have traditionally lagged behind girls on reading ability, but new research published this week suggested that the gap has started to close.

The What Kids Are Reading study was carried out by Dundee University's Prof Keith Topping and funded by Renaissance Learning and looked at the books that 210,000 UK children are reading.

Have you got a Hellesdon story? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email