INSPIRING youngsters have been rewarded for their bravery in battling lifethreatening illnesses.

The Brave Hearts awards scheme honours courageous children who have serious health conditions.

The awards ceremony was held at St James’ Park, in Newcastle, and hosted by BBC television presenter Carol Malia and Newcastle footballers Mike Williamson and Romain Amalfitano, who presented trophies and gifts to 36 youngsters.

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Among those honoured were Lucy White, seven, and Thomas Atherton, nine, both pupils at St George’s Academy, in Middleton St George, near Darlington.

Lucy, who will celebrate her eighth birthday next month, received her award for her courage in dealing with a chronic heart condition from birth.

Doctors initially told Lucy’s mother, Sarah, that the condition was terminal, but three open heart operations, including a full reconstruction of her lung and pulmonary arteries, gave her a fighting chance.

Thomas received his award for his bravery battling against leukaemia, which he was diagnosed with in 2009.

He was put on a three-year chemotherapy course, but he suffered a severe reaction to the treatment and had to learn how to walk again.

Thomas will have his final bone marrow test on November 29 and will finish his chemotherapy course the following week.

Headteacher Janine Gleeson said: “Both Lucy and Thomas are a joy to work with; trying their very best and always having a smile on their face.”