Despite doom and gloom in the mainstream press, the 67th annual GAWDA convention kicked off last night in the 'Big Apple', New York.

The Gas and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) annual convention started off here in Times Square in New York city last night, with the President's welcome reception in which well over 800 delegates met to begin the three-day gathering.

Despite talk of a recession, the back bone of the industrial gases business, the distributors, were in high spirits and in buoyant mood.

The convention starts properly today, with a key note speech from Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter Mcausland.

Lloyd Robinson, the outgoing president of GAWDA, said he was delighted with the turn out for the opening cocktail party and was looking forward to the next three days.