INSPIRING youngsters from across the region have been rewarded for their bravery in battling against life-threatening illnesses.

The Brave Heart awards scheme honours courageous children who live with serious health conditions and the 2012 ceremony was held at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

It was hosted by BBC television presenter Carol Malia and Newcastle footballers Mike Williamson and Romain Amalfitano who presented trophies and gifts to 36 brave youngsters from across the North East.

Among those honoured were Lucy White, 7, and Thomas Atherton, 9, both pupils at St George’s Academy in Middleton St George.

Lucy, who will celebrate her eighth birthday next month, received her Brave Heart 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 the youngster a fighting chance.

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

He was put on a three-year chemotherapy course but his body shut down following a severe reaction to the treatment and he 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.

Janine Gleeson, headteacher of St George’s Academy, is delighted that the two pupils were among those recognised for their bravery.

She said: “We are extremely proud as a school to have two very special children to be part of our family.

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