A MOTORBIKING vicar who got the calling to be a priest at the age of 12 has been appointed vicar of two Taunton churches.

When the Rev Tobie Osmond is licensed at St Mary Magdalene and St John's in October it will be his second spell in the county town.

He started out in the Church as a curate at St George's, Wilton, and St Michael's, Galmington, before moving to Bath Abbey, where he worked with a large team of staff and volunteers.

He is currently the vicar of St Thomas' Church, in Wells, where he sees himself as a "collaborative leader that has a great desire to see all people released into the callings that God has for them".

In between his time at Bath and Wells, the Rev Osmond spent time serving in two churches neat the town of Barrie, in Canada, which gave him the opportunity of spending time on the ski slopes.

He grew up in the village of Cleeve, between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol, where he went to school at St Mary Radcliffe.

But his faith "became alive" as an 11-year-old during a trip with his sister and grandparents to the Holy Land, wondering as he sat on the hill where Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, and walking the streets of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The following year he heard the Lord say to him: "I want you to be my priest," as he listened to a sermon while on holiday with his parents.

But after school and before taking up the calling, he studied rural resource management at Plymouth University, during which time he was sent to Zambia for six month evaluating the agricultural resettlement programme.

In 1996 he began his training for the priesthood at Ripon College, Cuddlesdon, Oxford.

He lists his hobbies as skiing, motorcycling and films. He has trained people in advanced first aid on ski hills and training people in riding motorbikes to an advanced standard.

When he moves into the new vicarage at St Mary's, he plans to get a black Labrador.

The Rev Osmond said: "I have experienced many part of this wonderful world that God has given us, but am always pulled back home.

"It is exciting to think of the journey that God will take is on over the next few years and I am looking forward to sharing this journey in Taunton."