Two Pals Have Taken Passport Photos Together Every Five Years for 50 Years

Meet the best friends who have taken passport photos together every five years for half a century.

Retired probation officer Keith Laughton, 60, and paramedic Martin Dowle, 60, started the tradition when they were both 10 years old.

They climbed into a photo booth in Woolworths, a historic U.K. retail outlet chain, to memorialize their first ever trip into the cathedral city of Lincoln.

Keith and Martin 1
Best friends Keith Laughton and Martin Dowle, who have taken passport photos together every five years for 50 years. The pair started the tradition when they were both ten-years-old. SWNS/Zenger/Keith Laughton

Completely by coincidence, the pair found themselves at Woolworths again 5 years later, and decided to turn their photo visits into a tradition.

They've done it every five years since, and on July 20, the pair—now 60—set out to take their 50th-anniversary pic.

Keith said: "We've always been close.

"I mean there are months that we don't speak but all I have to do is pick up the phone and we pick up where we left off.

"That's just 50 years of friendship.

Photo Booth Keith Martin
Best friends Keith Laughton and Martin Dowle, who have taken passport photos together every five years for 50 years. The tradition started when the duo visited the cathedral city of Lincoln in the U.K. SWNS/Zenger/Keith Laughton

"It's a special relationship.

"I have the full set of photos in an envelope with a sign saying 'do not destroy'.

"I don't think Martin has them all, so I sent him a collage of them all a few years back."

The pair met aged 8 when Keith went to introduce himself to Martin after he moved to his village of Bardney, in the U.K.

While Keith still lives there, Martin now lives in London.

Keith reminisced on the times the pair lived together, from brewing beer in Martin's backyard aged 15, to sharing a tent at the legendary music festival Glastonbury.

Martin is the godfather to Keith's youngest daughter.

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Best friends Keith Laughton and Martin Dowle, who have taken passport photos together every five years for 50 years. The first photo they took was at a Woolworths store in the U.K. SWNS/Zenger/Keith Laughton

The pair will take their next photo during a visit to Skegness, a popular English seaside town.

Keith said: "We both get excited and start planning it, and then we realize it means another five years has gone by.

"I would describe Martin as a lovely laid-back guy. Nothing phases him and his job isn't something I could have ever done.

"Sometimes it's almost as if he's horizontal, with how relaxed he gets."

Keith joked about their last photo together, and added: "The 55th photo was interesting because we went to the local train station—quite late at about 8 p.m.

"As we got there, it was packed, and a train was just coming in, so we sulked in the shadows for about 20 minutes and sneaked into the photo booth.

"We must have looked a bit strange—two fully grown men sneaking into a photo booth together.

"We did have a joke where if one of us passes away, we would hold a photo or cut out of the other one to keep it up—hopefully that won't be any time soon though!"

Martin said: "We thought it would have been a giggle to take some silly pictures with our pocket money. By sheer chance we did it again and then again by the third time we realized we were doing them by coincidence every five years."

Photo Booth
Best friends Keith Laughton and Martin Dowle, who have taken passport photos together every five years for 50 years. They will take their next photo at a seaside town. SWNS/Zenger/Keith Laughton

"If I was to sum up Keith, I would say he is: hardworking, loyal, likes a practical joke and dancing about in the garden in silly clothes. He's a bit of a party animal, really he likes entertaining people and he's just good fun, a real silly guy. "

"We were in Kent and we found it a bit tight for time, we couldn't find a single photo booth there and Keith had to get a train back to Lincoln.

"We almost missed our window but managed to find a local Sainsburys [supermarket] with a booth in just in the nick of time."

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.