A man who was attacked by a gang of youths and left for dead in Clydebank nearly 16 years ago has finally been reunited with the strangers who saved his life that night.

Joe Proctor had been walking home from a night out in the town to his parents in Yoker when he was ambushed on the Forth and Clyde Canal path on March 29, 2008. He suffered a fractured skull, nose, and a broken tooth.

Clydebank Post: Joe, aged 18, in hospital after the attackJoe, aged 18, in hospital after the attack (Image: Joe Proctor)Joe, who was 18 at the time, also had hypothermia as he had been plunged into the canal. Paramedics said that he could have died, had a stranger not pulled him from the water, wrapped him in a curtain to keep him warm, and phoned emergency services.

Following numerous public appeals to trace the kind-hearted stranger Joe told the Post he wasn’t sure he’d ever find them.

However that all changed when the now 34-year-old recently received a comment on social media.

Joe said: “I got a message under one of the videos that I’d done a couple of years ago to try and find the woman that saved my life.

“A guy had seen it and said ‘I’m sure that is someone I know’. I messaged back asking for details and he gave me her phone number.

“I sent a text and asked if it would be alright to give her a call. I phoned that night and we had a big chat about the whole thing.

“She told me in detail everything that had happened, that her daughter was involved, and that she was also on the call.

“I didn’t even know that there was another person. It came as a bit of a surprise. I wanted to meet them straight away.

“When we met up it was really emotional. They told me information I didn’t know before. It was quite hard to hear.”

Joe explained that he had believed that he might have provoked his attackers.

However, after speaking to the two women, who wished to remain anonymous, he was told that this hadn’t been the case.

He added: “They saw me staggering down the path and thought ‘That’s not going to end well’ because it happened all the time in that area where people were getting attacked and there were always gang fights too.

“They said they could hear me screaming and shouting ‘I’ve not even done anything’ and then they heard me get put in the water.

“They rushed over and the daughter had to get into the water and lift me out from underneath my armpits and the mum helped with my legs.

“The daughter then grabbed the first thing she could find to keep me warm which was a curtain. This was while the mum was on the phone with the ambulance.

"It was hard to hear but it managed to give me closure and has helped.

“When I first met the two of them I was just crying, hugging them, it was crazy. So much time had passed that I just thought it was never going to happen.

“When I thanked them I said ‘I’m not just saying thank you from me, I’m saying thank you from my friends and family as well’.”

Joe, who is now the proud dad of a little boy, said that this incredible act of kindness has pushed him to help others.

Clydebank Post: Joe Proctor todayJoe Proctor today (Image: Joe Proctor)He says he has forgiven the youths who attacked him and has “always just accepted that it happened”.

Whilst working as an actor Joe would visit schools and perform in anti-gang violence plays to raise awareness of the devastating consequences.

He said: “It’s such a weird feeling when a stranger has saved your life as you just have this in-built drive to find them.

“It spurred me on to help others. I give blood regularly and I like to think that’s the reason why. I want to try and help save strangers' lives too.

“I was working as an actor for quite a long time and I was doing anti-gang violence plays in schools, which allowed me to tell my story.

“I’d like to think it would help prevent other kids from doing stuff like that. The whole thing just made me want to be nicer to people.

“I’ve never been one for getting my own back, I’ve always just accepted that it happened.

"I can’t imagine the young guys were going through such a great time in their lives to be doing stuff like that so I don’t hold any grudges.”