Charelke passed away
Charel Willems died on December 12th in the residential care center De Zilverlinde. Charel was a member of KVC Westerlo for more than 50 years. We were looking for an article from the magazine De Kemphaan where Leo Brouwers had an interview with Charelke.
Karel (Charel) Willems has been a member of KVC Westerlo for fifty years. The ‘smallest’ employee of ’t Kuipje turned 78 this year and started in 1961, as a carer, under trainer Jan Torfs when Westerlo was still playing in the second provincial. Every week, he sits next to the dugout of the first team, both at home and on the road.
You have been with KVC Westerlo for fifty years. How did it all start?
Well, I am a tailor by profession. In the evening, after my day job, I always went to watch Westerlo’s training sessions. In 1961, Cis Van Ghys asked me if I didn’t want to become a carer. Because I wasn’t married, I had a lot of time and I accepted the offer. At that time I started taking lessons with the Red Cross. Afterwards I followed courses in taping and massage. I did that for several months and all at my own expense. I did that for about thirty years until the current carer, Valère Van Olst, joined the club.
So you made the club a success ?
Sure I did. I experienced the advance to promotion and then the decline to second provincial. Then came the era Vermeer-Thijs and the various promotions until we ended up in first class. The victory in Waregem with promotion to first and the cup win are the things that will always stay with us. Although the periods under Jan Torfs, Stan De Backer or Gust Ceuppens were also pleasant times.
What are you still doing at the club at the moment ?
I come here every morning and make the sports drinks of the players. I make sure that those and the cups are ready. In the evening I replenish those drinks and help with the cleaning of the dressing rooms. I lend a hand with Valère. I am also present during the matches. I make sure that the food is in the players’ home after the match and on the move I help carry the equipment.
Soccer is apparently a part of your life ?
I’ve never played soccer myself, but I’ve always liked it. Because of my work as a carer at the club, I have always been close to the players. I’ve never been married and always had time enough to dedicate myself to the club. Believe me, I can’t miss soccer. I’ve been walking around here for fifty years and this has become an important part of my life. I wouldn’t know what to do if I can’t come anymore.
Article from De Kemphaan, author: Leo Brouwers