A GRIEVING son who lost his “hilarious and honest” best friend when his father died of asbestos-related cancer is on a desperate hunt for answers.

Guy Cheshire, 37, is looking for former colleagues to come forward after his 73-year-old father Keith contracted mesothelioma.

Keith, a father of four and grandfather to 13, worked in the merchant navy aboard cruise liners for several years.

He spent much of his time cleaning the ships, which contained steam pipes lagged with asbestos.

Guy, from Clacton, said: “My father was the most genuine person you will ever meet and had a hilarious direct and honest sense of humour.

“He was so hard working and you wouldn’t get anybody else like him.

“He was very knowledgeable about most things and a real jack of all trades. He was a fine artist.

“I was so upset when he passed away as he was such a great father. If something was ever wrong he would be there for us.

“He was never ill and physically fit until he broke his hip and he never really recovered.

“His whole family miss him terribly as we all respected him greatly. But I personally feel like I have lost my best mate. We did everything together and I miss having him around.”

Keith suffered a fall in August 2016 and broke his femur.

A few months later he started coughing up blood and in October 2017, following a biopsy, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma - a cancer usually linked with asbestos exposure.

He died in June last year.

Keith worked on several P&O Shipping Company cruise liners, starting his merchant navy career on the Sorova from February 1966 to October 1967, sailing out of Tilbury.

He then moved to the Arcadia from November 1967 to September 1968 before joining the SS Chusan which he sailed on between November 1969 and October 1970. His final P&O posting was on the Oriana from November 1970 to June 1971.

His final job in the merchant navy was on the Windsor Castle, operated by the Castle Line, from November 1971 to January 1972.

Guy added: “What infuriates me the most is that I know he would have worked harder than anybody on those ships, but working in them could have ultimately ended up costing him his life.

“Dad used to clean the ships and remembered pipes below deck that were lagged with something he believed was asbestos.

“At that time they didn’t know that it was dangerous.

“Now we need the help of his former colleagues to come forward so we can find out where he was exposed to asbestos.”

Legal firm Hodge Jones & Allen is representing the family and investigating how Keith contracted the disease.

Anyone who recalls working with him can contact Isobel Lovett, partner and head of industrial disease at the firm, on 020 7874 8502 or ilovett@hja.net.

To access more information on asbestos and mesothelioma, visit mesothelioma.com.