Carrie Symonds returns to comms in wildlife charity role

Carrie Symonds, former Conservative Party communications director and fiancée of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has joined wildlife charity and conservation project Aspinall Foundation as head of comms.

Symonds is widely known as a conservationist and animal rights campaigner. In 2020 she was named 'person of the year' by the UK arm of animal rights charity PETA, which described her as "a fearless force for good when it comes to making the world a kinder place for animals".

She previously worked for marine conservation NGO Oceana, where she specialised in combating plastic pollution. Symonds will continue to advise the charity in a consultancy capacity on its global plastics objectives.

Aspinall Foundation campaigns to halt the extinction of rare and endangered species and return them to the wild, where possible. It operates two UK animal parks - Howletts, near Canterbury, and Port Lympne, near Ashford - and also funds animal protection activities in Congo, Gabon, Java and Madagascar, alongside sanctuaries in Cambodia and India.

Foundation chairman Damian Aspinall said: “Carrie takes up her new role at an exciting time for the Foundation and we are delighted to have someone of her calibre on the team. She's a passionate champion for wildlife and conservation, whose energy and expertise will be a huge asset to us."

Symonds was comms director at the Conservatives from 2017 to 2018, having previously been head of broadcast and before that political press adviser at the Party. She was also a special adviser to then-Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, and to former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale.

Her return to comms follows the birth of her son Wilfred in April 2020.

It had been widely reported that pressure from Symonds contributed to the departure of Downing Street's former comms director Lee Cain last year.

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