Armstrong is choice for Edenbridge effigy
SHAMED cyclist Lance Armstrong is this year's choice to be burnt in effigy at Edenbridge's world famous bonfire celebrations.
The 30ft replica of the American cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping offences, was unveiled before the country's press on Wednesday morning.
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Edenbridge Bonfire Society acting chairman Charles Laver said: "We're not doing it because we hate the guy - there's no malice at all.
"This is just our impression of what he is and who he is."
Mr Laver said the society had considered disgraced TV man Jimmy Savile but decided this was "too risky".
He added: "We had a shortlist which included Jimmy Savile but it was decided it would not be nice to use him as a lot of children attend the bonfire and they might start asking their parents questions."
Eventually they had decided on hate preacher Abu Hamza but Mr Laver said: "Then when work on that was due to start we decided we didn't feel quite right about that either."
Savile still had a small showing on the chosen guy, however, in a "Jim Fixed it for me" badge on Armstrong's shirt.
The effigy of Armstrong will now be torches in front of thousands on Saturday night.
Spokesman Mark Young said: "Lance Armstrong is certainly the biggest villain in sport, with fans across the globe feeling cheated by a man who was thought to be whiter than white."
Last year the society chose Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, who was picked after a firework was set off in his bathroom.
Other public figures who have been chosen as the celebrity guy at Edenbridge in past years include Cherie Blair, Katie Price, Gordon Brown and Russell Brand.
Bookmaker William Hill had Mr Armstrong listed as the favourite to be the effigy, with footballers John Terry, Ashley Cole and Luis Suarez also considered
The event is expected to include a parade of more than 20 floats with bands and walking parties. Last year's bonfire celebrations in the town attracted more than 20,000 people.