HIS final act was to call his best friend just before 5am and tell him why he was about to take his own life.

Minutes before he died in a blazing van, Nick Davies described his despair in a farewell message to colleague Chris Buchanan.

Mr Davies, 43, of Radstock Road, Southampton, poured out his feelings in a tearful voicemail left on Mr Buchanan’s mobile.

In the message he called Mr Buchanan his “bestest, closest friend” and indicated why he wanted to take his life.

Mr Davies named the people he wanted to carry the coffin at his funeral, then broke down in tears as he ended the call with the words: “Chris, I love you like a brother.”

Minutes later fire crews were called to Donnington Drive in Chandler’s Ford and found Mr Davies’ body in a burning Citroen Berlingo van.

Mr Buchanan, who runs a Southampton-based building services company, said: “The police came to my door at 6.20am on Sunday because the van was registered to me, although I let Nick use it.

“He left the message on my office mobile and I didn’t get it until the next day.

“When I played it back I burst into tears.

“Nick was the life and soul of the party.”

Mr Buchanan, 41, of Warsash, had known Mr Davies for 26 years.

They were once employed as doormen at pubs and clubs in the Southampton area but for several years had worked together in the building trade, travelling all over the south.

Mr Buchanan said Mr Davies was divorced and had two sons who he thought the world of.

Mr Buchanan spoke out in a bid to counter what he described as negative comments left on a social networking site following the tragedy.

“Nick was a rough diamond,” he said.

“We had a love-hate relationship. One day we’d love each other and the next we’d hate each other, but a couple of pints later and we were best friends again.”

In the call, Mr Davies apologised for his occasionally aggressive attitude, adding: “I didn’t even know I was being horrible to people.”

Mr Buchanan said: “I think that was an apology to me. Nick liked to air his views and always got right to the point.”

Describing Mr Davies as a good colleague who worked extremely hard, he added: “He was a brilliant bricklayer who was something of a perfectionist. You could never fault his work.”

Mr Buchanan said he had no idea why his friend decided to kill himself outside a house in Chandler’s Ford.

The couple who live in the property spoke to the Daily Echo the day after the tragedy occurred in the early hours of Sunday.

They said they did not know the man who died. They added that their daughter was in shock.

Mr Davies’ colleagues have been left devastated by his death.

Police are not treating the incident as suspicious and no arrests have been made.

As officers continue their investigation Mr Buchanan and his workmates, Andrew Alexander, Andy Foreman, Ryan Fisher, Chris Hall and Steve Healey, are trying to work out what drove their friend to take his own life.

The Daily Echo understands Mr Davies’ family do not wish to comment.