SOMETIMES, Fibie Whitchelo drives past the Govan tenement where she tried to end her life on a cold January morning 10 years ago.

“Every time I look at it, I think – I am so glad to be alive,” she says, fervently. “The doctors, nurses, surgeons, my community – they all looked after me and I will be forever grateful.”

Ten years later, Fibie is about to launch a social enterprise dedicated to tree-climbing and rock-climbing – activities which, she says, helped her recover from the darkest period of her life.

“The feeling of overcoming fear, of challenging yourself and the exhilaration you get from climbing – it’s incredible,” she says. “Rock climbing saved my life a second time.”

In early January 2010, struggling to cope after the death of her mother, Fibie was suffering from depression and anxiety.

“I jumped out of my top floor tenement window – about a 50-foot drop onto concrete,” she says, calmly.

“Luckily, I landed feet first, so I didn’t hit my head. Instead, my right leg plunged up into my lung, my pelvis shattered and my lower back broke.

“I was in a coma for a month and very close to death but thanks to extremely skilful doctors, I managed to survive.”

Extensive surgery, including the insertion of a metal rod into her right leg, pins into her elbow and bolts to hold her pelvis and lower back together, followed. Fibie was in a coma for a month, in hospital for a further four and in a wheelchair until the end of the year. She has been left with permanent nerve damage on her right side and needs to take strong painkillers and other medication every day.

“After the wheelchair came crutches for almost two years, and due to the stress of it all, my partner and I split up,” she explains. “My five-year-old daughter went to live with him, because I could not look after her myself, and seeing her only at weekends was agony.”

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Fibie sighs at the memory. “Although I was glad to be alive, the physical pain and the depression were dragging me back to a dark place,” she says, slowly. “But it was in this hellish place that I met Graeme.

“He is a rock climber and had the idea that even though the lower part of my body had no power, my arms were strong from crutches. He thought I might be able to pull myself up a rock climbing wall.”

She smiles: “I trained for years, both indoors and outdoors, and now, 10 years after the accident and six years after I started climbing, I’m doing really well. It is a struggle and some days, I cannot move with the pain.

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“But every day I force myself through and thanks to Graeme, my life is full of outdoor pursuits. We camp and kayak with our four-year-old son Xani and my daughter Miho, who is now 11 and who stays with us on weekends and holidays.

Realising what climbing and outdoor sport had done for her, Fibie was keen to help others discover the benefits.

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“I started a free online group to encourage parents to get out with their kids to camp, kayak and hillwalk,” she says. “In three years, the group has grown to nearly 1900 members, with an active Facebook group and a website which is not updated as often as I’d like.

“After a while we realised that although it was great doing free activities for families, we were funding a lot of equipment ourselves, and not necessarily benefitting people who really were experiencing poverty and deprivation. That’s when Treetop Rocks was born.”

Treetop Rocks is a social enterprise which runs tree climbing and rock climbing sessions for children and adults with all profits going towards the provision of free courses for children and young people experiencing poverty and deprivation

Fibie, who now lives in Mosspark, adds: “We were so happy to receive funding from Firstport in February – and then lockdown meant we had to put our plans on hold. But we launched our website,, for bookings this week and are trying to build up our social media following to advertise new events as they happen.

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“I feel passionate about helping other people who are struggling. I made a bit of a mess of things, I know that, but it seems to me that if you give yourself time, if you take the support that is out there, things will change and it will get better.”

She pauses.

“I was convinced I wanted to die that day, but 10 years later, I have two beautiful kids, a happy relationship, a fantastic hobby and my own social enterprise business that will hopefully help others,” she says.

“If I had died, I would have lost the chance of all that life, all that happiness.”