TRAIN passengers arriving at Hereford Railway Station will now be welcomed by images of a banned advert.

A hoarding showing four images from a Just Pray advert, which the UK's three leading cinema chains refused to show amid fears it could offend people, will be on display for the next six months.

The boards were unveiled by the Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith, to coincide with the start of lent.

"It's part of a campaign to get people to pray," said Bishop Richard.

"There was a short film that was banned from cinemas. It caused quite a fuss.

"This gave a lot of publicity to it and, in a way, was a blessing in disguise.

"You don't need to be a member of a church or particularly spiritual to pray.

"I think in rural areas, such as Herefordshire, you tend to find a lot of spiritual people given their proximity to the wonders of creation."

The images are displayed on 8ft by 8ft hoardings.

The advert they are taken from was banned ahead of Star Wars: the Force Awakens film, which was released on December 18.

It was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and the British Board of Film Classification, but the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains refused to show it, saying it "carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”.

The Church of England said it was at a loss to understand the logic behind the decision.

Bishop Richard, along with other members of the Hereford Diocese, handed out prayer cards to coincide with yesterday's launch.

The 90-second advert has been viewed online more than 1.5 million times.

"We think this is a great idea, " added Bishop Richard.

"The website has attracted so many people and we want those locally to know all about it too.

"You don't have to be an expert on how to pray, the website gives you an opportunity to just pause and have your say."