The family of Seán Cox have thanked people for their support after the Meath man suffered life-changing injuries in an attack at a Liverpool soccer match in April.
Mr Cox's wife Martina and his three children extended their "huge expression of gratitude" after the 53-year-old suffered "catastrophic injuries" when he was assaulted before the Champions League semi-final.
He is now being cared for at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire "where he is continuing to make progress", Mrs Cox said today.
She said her husband no longer has a feeding tube and is starting to eat and drink again with the help of the "wonderful" staff at the hospital.
"Seán has some more words and is trying very hard to sing along to familiar songs; these are encouraging and proud steps for us all," she said.
"Our family used the time with Seán over Christmas to try and relay to him the public goodwill and support there has been for him over the eight months since his attack."
This included showing him posts from social media, articles and videos from fundraising events in Ireland and abroad, letters and signed jerseys in aid of Seán's recovery, as well the GoFundMe page and the SupportSean.com website, Mrs Cox said.
The Support Seán campaign has raised €1.1m to date.
"This time last year we were an ordinary family looking forward to another New Year and what that would bring," she said.
"Seán or I never dreamt that 12 months on, there would be websites or media interviews or fundraising events all brought about by what happened after Seán was attacked in Liverpool on April 24.
While it has been an exceptionally difficult time, what has helped me and the kids get through it has been the overwhelming goodwill of Seán’s family, friends, supporters and the general public.
"People whom we have never met have been there for us in so many, many ways, alongside our family, friends and local community. While we have a battle ahead again in 2019, our burden is lightened by this love and support for Seán.
"Thank you for everything you have done for Seán, our family and me during 2018.
"To the communities of Dunboyne, Dublin, Ireland, Liverpool and many other places across the world; to people who took part in events for Seán, organised fundraisers or donated online; to the child who sent €5 of their pocket money in an envelope to our house; we owe you a debt of gratitude," she said.
Mrs Cox concluded her message by wishing supporters a Happy New Year.