Harry de Wit
Builder - Soccer
In 1969, Harry de Wit bought several pieces of steel pipe from Trans-Canada Pipeline, then got them welded together by Alfred Amell. These welded pipes would be used to build the first soccer nets in St Andrew's West, placed on the church property. He then obtained lime for the field lines, mesh for the nets, and thereby established the first St. Andrew's West soccer field, which was positioned perpendicular to Hwy 138. Harry soon organised and coached a team of local Cornwall Township boys in the Char-Lan & District Soccer League, where they became a fixture as league champions. On many occasions, Harry could be seen driving the township roads in an overcrowded car, picking up players who otherwise didn't have a ride to the games.
Several years later, due to the construction of a new baseball diamond, Harry supervised the move of the soccer field to its current location. Since then, many, many children, including all of his grandchildren, have played on that field, and perhaps one day, so will his great-grandchildren.
In 1977, when his two boys, Bill and Ed, were a little older, he founded the St Andrew's Saints soccer club, which competed in the Cornwall & District Men's Soccer League. Later, he co-coached that very same team for several years with his son, Bill.
In 1984, Harry and Bill arranged a soccer trip to Harry's homeland of the Netherlands, where they played five exhibition games against high-calibre Dutch teams. To the Dutch teams' dismay, the Saints swept all five games, and as an added bonus, his sons Bill & Eddy were major contributors in the victories. The Saints returned to Holland in 1990, and once again came home undefeated. It is safe to say that these two trips were the highlight of Harry's soccer career.
As a lasting legacy, Harry was instrumental in creating a Saints dynasty that went on to win eight consecutive league championships, and ten out of 11 overall league titles. All of this from a passion for the game of soccer - and some welded pieces of steel pipe.
Ed & Bill de Wit accepting on behalf of their father Harry de Wit from Raymond Beauregard.