The family of a girl who died from cancer gave their support to the launch of a new national research partnership.

Stanmore couple Julie and Gary Phelan founded the charity Ali’s Dream after losing their daughter Alison to a brain tumour three weeks before her eighth birthday in 2001.

Supporters of the charity, along with patients, carers and doctors, attended the launch of new collaborative partnerships set up by the charity Brain Tumour Research and three research centres of excellence.

The launch at the Houses of Parliament means there will be sustainable research and will lead to a £20 million investment in brain tumour research over the next five years.

Julie Phelan said: “The news today that three new centres of excellence will be entering a funding partnership with Brain Tumour Research, thereby ensuring that research will be continuous and sustained, is really welcome to all those families, including mine, impacted by brain tumours.

“This planned investment brings fresh hope that more effective treatments and ultimately a cure will be found and soon.”

Money will help create a network of brain tumour research centres throughout the country.