Some children take to reading quicker than others - but even Horrid Henry was won over by the Maidenhead Big Read event.

The event was organised to run over three weekends, the last one due to happen next Saturday and Sunday. It has attracted Olympic rowing medallist Katherine Grainger and celebrated children's author Tim Walker - of Fizzle Trilogy fame - among the special guests.

But Horrid Henry's dramatic personal appearance at the festival on the first weekend was a bit different because he is character from a book rather than a writer. In fact he has featured in 25 of the popular picture book series.

The Big Read event has been organised by Stephan Stephan, a former president of Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club.

Mr Stephan has co-ordinated reading volunteers in schools for 10 years and many of them gave their services at the Big Read in the specially set up Inspiration Theatre at the old Argos shop in the Nicholson Centre. A book shop swap also operated in the centre, while in the main square the ABC to Read charity gave children a chance to find their own voice by encouraging them to read aloud.

Mr Stephane and his small team of volunteers from across the community have worked hard to assemble authors and illustrators to participate.

Another welcome guest was Lisa Buddin, reading from her much loved children's book Five Cat Magic.

It was enough to make any child want to try reading. But Mr Stephane does not believe in pressurising anyone.

He said: "Children who visit the swap shop will be welcome to pick up a comic or a magazine, even if they do not pick up a book - reading is the thing.

"The Inspiration Theatre will even have a table to play ping pong on if children just want to do that."