THE FONZ was in Thornbury for a school visit to inspire the young generation.

Henry Winkler visited The Castle School yesterday as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the needs of children with learning challenges.

Best known for his iconic alter-ego, Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli ‘The Fonz’ in the American show Happy Days, he has more recently been highlighting learning challenges in a series of books.

His books have spawned the hit CBBC show Hank Zipler, which tells the tale of a young boy with dyslexia.

Henry has drawn on his own experience, having struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia himself in school.

The star was in South Gloucestershire as part of a schools tour in partnership with education charity Achievement for All.

The First News My Way! Campaign is working to overcome the stigma felt by the one in five children in the UK with learning difficulties, raising the self-esteem and aspirations of children and young people affected and giving their friends a greater understanding of the challenges they face.

The Fonz spent two hours with year 7 students at the school, as well as a group from St Mary’s Primary School.

He shared his experiences of dyslexia, telling children: “How you learn has nothing to do with how smart you are.”

Henry was accompanied on the tour by Nicky Cox MBE, editor of award-winning children’s newspaper First News, who emphasised the message of the campaign – the things that make us different make us special.

Acting head teacher at The Castle School, Peter Smart, said it had been a very exciting event.

“The 300 students were captivated by Henry’s inspirational talk,” he said. “At the end of the afternoon he happily undertook a mass book signing and spoke personally with the students.

“Henry certainly made us all reflect on the special qualities we possess.”