AN off-duty firefighter has spoken of his agony months after being attacked in Ramsbottom town centre.

The man, who asked not to be named, was left with a serious eye injury after being attacked in Irwell Street in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The 27-year-old had been drinking with friends in The Railway pub, in Bridge Street, Ramsbottom, shortly before the attack happened at about 1.30am.

When an altercation spilled over on to nearby streets, the man was set upon by three other men.

The firefighter, who lives in Ramsbottom, said: "I went for one last drink with my mates and was about to go home when there was an altercation in the beer garden where my girlfriend was assaulted by a female.

"I went out to see what was happening and this female assaulted me. I brushed her to one side and went to leave the pub, but I was followed out by about 10 lads.

"A few beat my mate up and three turned on me and followed me up the road."

The man says he was kicked and punched repeatedly, while the men pulled his jacket over his head.

He says he was left "dazed" by the attack, but managed to walk home with his girlfriend.

However, he soon realised that he could not see anything through his right eye, and went to A&E where he was told he had suffered an internal bleed.

He is still suffering from blurred vision more than two months on, and says it has affected him at work.

"My eyesight is such an important part of my job; I cannot do my job without it," said the firefighter.

"It makes me incredible disoriented. I get dizzy in the mornings and headaches are common.

"It is unbearable to live with. There is an operation I can have, but there are risks with that."

He said he believed those who assaulted him were local, and in their mid to late 20s.

He added that one attacker was six foot three, of "large build with a gingery brown beard", while another was "about five foot four, wearing all black with white trainers".

Issuing a plea for witnesses, he said: "I hope someone can come forward with some more information. I remember a car drove past at the time and someone shouted 'leave him alone, you cowards'.

"There needs to be some consequence, they cannot go around doing this."

GMP Ramsbottom also issued an appeal on Facebook earlier today in a bid to trace those involved.

It read: "Police appeal for any witnesses to a serious assault that occurred early hours of New Years Day close to Tesco in Ramsbottom. 

"This started inside The Railway public house then escalated over to Irwell Street close to Tesco. 

"Victim has a serious eye injury and we need to trace all those involved."

Anyone with information, or who witnessed the assault, is asked to email