Pewsey clergyman Canon Gerald Osborne is to perform a remarkable feat of faith and memory by reciting in public the whole of Mark’s Gospel from memory.

Canon Osborne, a farmer and priest from Lawn Farm, Milton Lilbourne, will give a dramatised recital of the more than 11,000-word long gospel at St John the Baptist Church in Pewsey at 7pm tomorrow.

The free recital will take about two hours and there will be a break for refreshments.

Canon Osborne said: “I have never even been in a school play before, so this is quite a challenge.

“The idea came to me about the start of the year, but it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to commit myself.

“It is such a powerful gospel and I wanted to do this to get people to engage with it in a way they wouldn’t have before.”

The 51-year-old, who is the rural Dean for the parishes of Pewsey, has been memorising parts of Mark’s Gospel for several years and reciting them.

At the start of this year he began working on memorising the full gospel word-perfect.

In June he approached Colin Herby-Percy, a television scriptwriter who lives in the Vale, to help coach him with performance techniques.

Canon Osborne said: “He has coached me in how to recite the text in a way that helps people engage with its power.

“On the night, Colin will be on stage with me acting as Petronius, St Mark’s scribe.”

The priest has said one reason for the recital is during 2015, the majority of Christians around the world will have readings from Mark’s Gospel at most of their Sunday services as it is the gospel of the year.

He said: “Mark’s Gospel is a fast-paced, directly written story, so it’s an exciting listen for people of any religious viewpoint or none. I agree with the long-held view that this gospel is a record of what Peter told St Mark, so it’s as close to an eyewitness account of Jesus Christ as exists.”