Five Whangarei children were named "Children of Courage" at a Lions function in St John's Church Centre on Saturday.

Each received a plaque for either coping bravely with a severe disability or for supporting a brother or sister who does.

Lynda Halveston, Lions zone youth activities chairwoman, said it was the first year the Whangarei Lions clubs had made the awards and clubs throughout the country were following the initiative with interest. Those who received awards were Kaleigh Soper, 9, who has juvenile arthritis but who takes full part in sports and other activities at Kamo Primary School; Harvey Ellis, 9, from Waikaraka, who has Cri-du-chat. Mum Jo says Harvey "encourages and inspires the lives of many"; Max Thompson-Bailey, 10, from Ngunguru, who has cerebral palsy, has attended Horohoro Primary School for four years and spent most of Saturday's event smiling at everyone; Niamh Adair, 11, from Whangarei, who received her award for her outstanding support of brother Hugh, 6, who has cerebral palsy; and Rome Hepi, 10, from Onerahi for outstanding support of his brother, Kassius, 7, who has Pallister-Killian syndrome.