AMBITIOUS plans to revamp a leisure centre in Highworth may be scuppered if more cash cannot be found.

Under the scheme Highworth Recreation Centre will be given a £1.1m makeover.

But the management committee tasked with raising the cash says it is £66,000 short.

There are fears that individual groups which have promised to invest cash may now be getting cold feet.

The committee's executive chairman Phil Baker warns that swimmers may be left high and dry.

February 22 has been named as D-Day for getting the cash together.

Mr Baker said: "There is a last minute hitch. We're juggling 10 different sources of cash and despite our difficulties we've managed to keep them all on board.

"But the crunch time has come. Donors cannot hold offers open indefinitely, no matter how good the cause.

"So unless we can find £66,000 by February 22, we'll probably lose our largest single donor and that would set us back so far that I doubt we could recover.

"For more than 30 years the people of Highworth have wanted a roof over the pool. It grieves me to see the existing pool rotting away. It is now or never.

Mr Baker says committee members are gearing up for one final push.

"We need to raise the last six per cent and secure a critical agreement with the borough. Then we can order construction to begin," he said.

The design for the 25-metre, four-lane pool includes: l An arch-shaped translucent roof with sides that can be opened in the summer l One-metre springboard l Three-metre diving platform l New filtration and ventilation l Improved access for the disabled Highworth Mayor Steve Weisinger said the town needs the new facility.

"It would be a tragedy if we lose the project at this late stage," he said.

"There is so much at stake for the Rec, the town and for swimming in this country."

If built, the Rec would be a centre of excellence for swimming coaching.

Elaine Lloyd, of Highworth Amateur Swimming Club, said: "We've lost so many pools now that it is very difficult to keep youngsters interested in swimming."

The Highworth Recreation Centre project has the backing of both Swindon and Highworth councils.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can telephone 01793 762602.