A father of two left an emotional goodbye message for his best friend moments before he died in a blazing van in the Test Valley.

Nick Davies, 43, described his despair and explained why he was about to take his own life in a poignant voicemail to colleague, Chris Buchanan.

Mr Davies, of Radstock Road, Southampton, poured out his feelings in the tearful mobile phone message.

During the call, he described Mr Buchanan his “bestest, closest friend” and indicated why he wanted to take his own life.

Mr Davies even named the people he wanted to carry the coffin at his funeral, before breaking down in tears. He ended the heartfelt message with the words: “Chris, I love you like a brother.”

Minutes after he hung up, fire crews were called to Donnington Drive in Valley Park, where they found Mr Davies’s body in a burning Citroen Berlingo van.

Firefighters made the grim discovery as they battled the blaze at around 5am on Sunday morning.

Mr Buchanan, 41, said he had known Mr Davies for 26 years.

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

Mr Buchanan 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 backm I burst into tears.

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

Describing Mr Davies as a good colleague who worked extremely hard, Mr Buchanan 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 close friend decided to kill himself outside the Valley Park property.

The couple, thought to be called Singh, who live in the house, have said that they “don’t know who the man was”.

Detectives said they were not treating the death as suspicious and no arrests had been made in connection with the blaze as the Romsey Advertiser went to press.

But neighbours in the quiet Test Valley community remained in shock over the incident.

Graham Mason, 70, who lives next door to the Singh family, said he heard music blaring and then an explosion before the grim discovery was made.

He said: “I looked out the window and saw the flames coming up from the van. I got dressed and went to use water, but by that time the fire brigade were here.” Brian Capeling, of neighbouring street, Basing Way, added: “You hear these things, but you never think it will happen in your own area. It’s a shock.”

Mr Davies’s family did not wish to comment.