MORE than 400 rafters made their way down the River Wye in May of 1980 perched aboard milti-coloured inventions.

Most had to carry their bulky assortment of welded barrels for the first 100 yards with only inches of water covering the river bed.

Self-styled King of Hay Richard Booth and ‘Duchess’ April Ashley sent the river raft race teams on their way with a pop gun salute.

Some rafts even lost members just after the start and cuts and bruises kept the first aid members busy during the overnight stop at the Hereford camp.

Pictured above close to the start line in Hay are the Streaky Bacon III team from the Bush Bank in Canon Pyon.