Currently Nick Gibbs is working as a part-time groundsman at the Cotswold Country Park & Beach, near Cirencester. Previously he had been a magazine editor for 25 years, launching titles as diverse as Sailing Today and British Woodworking, and most recently Living Woods. Since 2007 he has run his own successful publishing business, producing a range of titles, for sale on the newsstands, by subscription and to provide contract magazines for businesses and associations. He has written for magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, Business2.0 and Survive. He has written The Good Wood Bible and The Craft of Magazine Editing.
In 2014, Nick Gibbs suffered a severe head injury when knocked off a bicycle. He was in a coma for 10 days, but was fortunate to regain consciousness without any physical damage. He could walk, talk, read and write, and all his limbs were working perfectly. He tried to escape from Intensive Care so often that he was put on a Deprivation of Liberty Order, rugby-tackled one time only yards from the hospital’s main exit.
Frustratingly, he could no longer work as an editor of magazines and owner of his publishing company. “I tried to keep at least one of my magazines going,” he says, “but despite lots of support, realised quite quickly that it is no longer possible to continue the job I enjoyed for 25 years.”
So, Nick has searched for a new purpose, for new meaning to life. Over the last four years he has been a kitchen porter, a handyman, a fitter of internal shutters, a shop assistant at B&Q, a pedlar of Hand-Made Helicopters, and now as a member of the site team at a local water park.
“You never really recover from a brain injury,” he says, “you just find new ways to live a life, and recognise the symptoms and prepare coping strategies.” Nick has found public speaking a new outlet for his ideas and experiences. He now gives talks to groups, sharing ideas, and entertaining an audience with tips on how not to try escaping hospital. His work now mowing and strimming, plus car parking and emptying bins, acts as therapy, offering a valuable routine.