Joanne Dowd

Joanne Dowd, Director of Hillfoots Tales, has worked with the Scottish Storytelling Centre since 2017.

She has taken part in numerous live storytelling events; performances locally and in Edinburgh, has shared a stage with internationally renowned storytellers, as well as appearing to international audiences over zoom.

A Community Education Worker, Joanne’s interests include playwriting and she teaches creative writing classes locally. Joanne’s short stories have been published in literary magazines across Scotland and a number of her short plays have been performed in Edinburgh.

Her love of the local folklore and exploring the landscape keep her on her toes.


Eleanor Bell

Eleanor Bell is a mother and grandmother.  She works as an accountant and hobbies include paper crafting.

Eleanor has a flair for creative writing and often writes as a way of getting through challenges in life. Storytelling has a big place in Eleanor’s heart with fond memories of family gatherings when aunts and uncles told stories of their own childhood.

Now a Granny herself, Eleanor values the importance of telling a story in person.

Finding inspiration after attending and enjoying a few Hillfoots Tales events, Eleanor has attended several workshops at The Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh to enhance her storytelling skills and is one of our more experienced storytellers.


Tania Dron

Tania is interested in folklore and magic and likes listening to and searching for stories. She always has a story for every occasion. Tania loves telling stories in a traditional style, ideally sharing tales by the fireside in an armchair with a cat in her lap. Tania’s love for the theatre and performance started at a young age. Having studied acting, she spends her working life as a guide in the tourism industry and enjoys performing, educating and writing.


Heather Kirby

Heather Kirby has loved stories since she was little and used her Sindy Dolls in her early forays into imaginative storytelling. As she grew up, the stories got bigger, taking in the miraculous in the mundane to the normal in the strange.
Heather’s storytelling interests encompass a variety of media and cultures, old and new, from videogames and anime to folklore and history. She enjoys the research almost as much as the tale it’s set to tell!
She is active within online and table-top role playing games circles and has published both fanfiction and original works under various pseudonyms.

Mary Snaddon

Mary is retired and recently moved back to Scotland after getting remarried and living in Dorset. She misses the weather but is glad to be back among her ain folk.

Mary loves spending time with family and friends and her hobbies include reading and swimming.  Keen to explore new interests, she joined the Hillfoots Tales storytelling group early in 2022.

One of Mary’s favourite real-life stories is the time she chased a young, English hooded thief across the supermarket car park as he made off with a hot cooked chicken.  He promptly returned it when she demanded “Gie me back ma chicken son!” He’s reportedly still recovering from Post Traumatic Scottish Disorder (PTSD).

Sue Bytheway

Sue lives in Coalsnaughton with her 2 dogs, cat, tortoise and budgie. She retired last year from her work in criminal justice and volunteers two days a week at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Sue enjoys keeping busy, and in between walking her dogs, she also looks after her grandchildren.

Not having written anything for a number of years but joining Hillfoots Tales has sparked Sue’s interest in telling and writing stories and poems.

She enjoys attending the fortnightly storytelling sessions and engaging with the other women in the group.

Gail Watson

Gail is a recently retired primary teacher who has lived in Alloa almost all her life.  She has a degree in English Language and Literature form Glasgow University.  Gail enjoys walking, reading, history, listening to music and travelling to far-flung destinations.

As a teacher, Gail’s most rewarding lessons were those where she created her own short stories to inspire her pupils to write their own imaginative stories.

Gail found Hillfoots Tales through volunteering to help behind the scenes but has discovered an interest in the oral story telling tradition in which she hopes to develop her own skills.